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Attention! German Government Not Web Savvy

Google Analytics CookiesWhile catching up on tweets this morning I ran across an interesting article regarding Germany's declaration that Google Analytics is illegal. Was?

Evidently, according to the German government, the use of Google Analytics to track website users' information is a violation of people's rights, since they're not giving their consent to be tracked.

Okay, stop right there, regierungsbeamte, just because you happen to be government officials doesn't mean you know best. Thing is, you don't even have the technical savvy to know that people who use the Internet DO have a choice of whether or not to be tracked.

It's called disabling cookies, FYI. Now, does the average Joe even know a) he's being tracked via cookies or b) that there's an option not to allow cookies in the first place? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I'll venture a guess he doesn't really pay attention, plus there's no danger of sensitive information getting out from the placement of cookies.

Cookies don't work that way - they're placed on a computer for a specific purpose (to track the user as she visits sites on the Web). Specifically, Google Analytics only places 1st-party cookies, so only Google Analytics can 'tap into' the information for that cookie, so to speak. There's a lot more to Google Analytics cookies than meets the eye, but the general lesson here, Germany, is don't "impose fines on companies who use the service to gather detailed stats based on their website visitors’ usage patterns," because they're not doing this "without the explicit consent of those visitors" ... those visitors have the option of not being tracked.

*Image used came from