EU’s GDPR is set to impact ecommerce sites worldwide

EU’s GDPR is set to impact ecommerce sites worldwide

The banning of Google Analytics will make business difficult for most eCommerce businesses.

Recent decisions taken by EU authorities are about to have a negative impact on virtually all eCommerce sites globally, according to the Enterprise Times.

In Italy, for example, the Italian Supervisory Authority (SA) ruled that Google Analytics was non-compliant with EU data protection rules. They banned the popular analytics tool, finding that the protections Google applied were not sufficient to address the risk. The SA suggested the use of Google Analytics violates EU data export rules.

In addition, an eCommerce website using Google Analytics without the safeguards set out in the EU GDPR violated data protection law. This potentially puts any eCommerce business at a major risk. France and Austria have also deemed the tool illegal. Norway urged its businesses to find an alternative, and Denmark is the latest EU country to effectively ban the service.

The main obstacle for data transfers between Europe and the US is that American law allows the US government to requisition client data from companies on national security grounds. Such government “snooping” is prohibited under GDPR.

Bracing for impact, finding alternatives

Millions of European businesses are poised to be affected by the banning of Google Analytics. As the Enterprise Times article explains, this can result in several possible scenarios.

The first possible outcome is a total ban of Google Analytics in Europe, leaving American companies unable to operate in the EU.

Another possibility is that U.S.-based tech companies could switch to storing and consolidating data in Europe to ensure their compliance with the GDPR. But such a move would then violate the CLOUD Act that empowers US authorities to force American service providers to turn over any data stored in their servers, regardless of where those servers are physically housed.

The third option is for EU businesses to find an alternative to Google Analytics. Alternative providers such as Matamo are EU-approved (the EC itself uses the platform), and providers like StoreConnect help businesses to comply by storing their own data in a GDPR-compliant fashion.

In any event, the problem won’t last long. EU and US legislators are currently drafting joint guidelines for legal data transfers between the EU and US.