Google Analytics May Channel French User Data to the U.S. Intelligence
While Europe is concerned about Facebook keeping its data in American data centers, yet another major company gets involved in an even louder scandal. Google Analytics, one of the most popular tools for web research, may be used by the CIA and other intelligence structures to collect data about French users.
At least, this statement was made this week by Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertés (CNIL). The point of the statement was that Alphabet does not submit to European norms that suggest keeping European user data in European data centers. The way it’s stored now leaves a possibility that CIA, NSA, and other organizations may access it and use in their activity, thus violating French citizens’ rights.
The motive behind the statement is obviously the same as that Meta reacts to with a threat to shut down Facebook and Instagram in the EU countries. The recipient of the message in the statement, though, is not Google or Alphabet, but some indirectly mentioned French website manager that uses Google Analytics and thus leave a door open for data abuse.
Many more companies may soon join Alphabet and Meta in similar clashes. What they need is a new agreement about transatlantic data transfers, instead of Privacy Shield that has been defined as “insufficient” by the European Court of Justice. Signing a new agreement is the optimal way out for most parties in a short-time perspective, as it’s cheaper and faster than building new data centers in Europe. Speaking long-term perspectives, though, IT giants will still have to settle in Europe as well, but so far they take their time.
Are you really concerned that data about European users can be used by American intelligence? Do you think it’s safer to trust local authorities or foreign ones with your sensitive data? Have there already been any consequences to these scandals that you’ve noticed? Let us know what you think in the comments.