Hi, I'm Dave Mulder. This is my website, where I write about user experience and product design.

Originally Published: July 1, 2010

Using Google Analytics? Where’s Your Privacy Policy?

Google Analytics screenshot

Google Analytics is a free web metrics service provided by Google. It’s incredibly easy to set up, and people go wild for the interactive, data-rich interface.

All you have to do to get going is add some JavaScript code that sends anonymous traffic statistics back to Google’s servers when people visit your site.

Unfortunately, most website owners don’t read the terms of service.

You’re required to post a privacy policy (if you’re using GA).

You will have and abide by an appropriate privacy policy and will comply with all applicable laws relating to the collection of information from visitors to Your websites. You must post a privacy policy and that policy must provide notice of your use of a cookie that collects anonymous traffic data.

That’s not a ‘please, if you could’.  It’s a ‘you must’.

It’s the right thing to do

And honestly, it’s the right thing to do. Your visitors hand over anonymous data which has value to you. It’s only fair that you tell them (or even better, give them a chance to opt out).

By posting a privacy policy, you’re also being transparent. Write one with human-friendly language and it might even be a selling point. ‘Hey, this guy really does care about us.’

So if you’re using Google Analytics and don’t have a privacy policy, take a few minutes this weekend to write one up and post it online. You’ll feel better about yourself, I promise.

My privacy policy

A link to my own privacy policy can be found at the end of page. On it you’ll see a way to opt out of tracking on davemulder.com. Alternatively, you could install Google’s own plugin that disables Analytics for all sites when you’re browsing.