University Web Developers

University Web Developers

The University of Florida is in the process of allowing web managers to use Google Analytics. We have a separate Privacy Office who has vetted this situation and has cleared its use but is requiring that each page using G.A. have a link that says "Google Analytics" and links to the Google Privacy Policy. The campus sites all currently link to a page on the Privacy web site. We suggested that they just include a line that notes that some sites may use third party services for user analysis and that would instant cover everyone instead of hoping to get the word out to change a footer.

Anyone else run into this problem? I'm curious to hear about other people's experiences with getting Google Analytics approved for use.

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I think it's more than a bit ridiculous for them to require you to put "Google Analytics" and link to the GA privacy policy on all the pages that use it. Having the privacy policy available and including a note about third-party services seems to be more than sufficient.
That is VERY extreme in my opinion. GA uses 1st party cookies to gather it's data. 1st party cookies are the same type that banks and ecommerce sites use and are highly trusted.

I'm not really sure why people coming to your site need to know they are being tracked as this is VERY common across the entire web.

If you have a privacy policy for your site then link to that in your footer with a disclaimer about this should be enough.
I agree with both of you, naturally. I've been researching other AAU schools to determine what they do and after going through half of them I haven't found a single one that requires all this extra work.

What the Privacy Office doesn't seem to appreciate is the fact that it took some effort to get all the web managers to change their previous links to the privacy policy and link to their office site. We also did redirects at the old link, just to be sure. Now, we are asking them to do it again.

Something you might also look at is install the WASP add-in for firefox. This add-in lets you know what Analytics tracking software is on a site. Once installed head over to eduStyles and start visiting college websites and see what Colleges use what analytics tracking software and if they let users know that they are tracking them. You can also do this on other websites, but I think going for the college websites will provide a more relevant and compelling argument. You can also see our Privacy Policy. I didn't even realize it but we do inform users that we gather data and use Google Analytics to do it.

Lol, I guess that's what happens when you write the policy over a year ago and forget about it. :)
I'm not concerned that we are notifying people that Google Analytics is being used. My concern is that we are being asked to clutter up our pages unnecessarily. We already link to the UF Privacy Policy in the footer and I feel that adding additional information about the possibility that G.A. is used on that privacy page is enough. They would rather us have that text at the bottom and link directly to Google's privacy policy, which seems a bit much. Not to mention the fact that we'd have to cross our fingers that the departments/units that are using G.A. - and some have done so without consulting our legal/privacy people - will now follow up and add this additional information. They already link to the privacy page so the C.Y.A. thing to do would be to mention G.A. on that page.

Whew! :)

Are they getting this idea from seeing it done on another web page? I agree with you that it's just extra clutter in the footer. Is there some way you can demonstrate to them that it is NOT a best practice to look to GA on every single page that it tracks? I'm sure you could even use examples from people in this network or on uwebd to show them that it's just not done.

Karlyn (who maintains that anyone working on the web in higher education is a masochist, pure and simple ;-) )
I'm not sure where they are getting this idea except from a very paranoid mind.

We have already had a couple of convos with their office explaining our position but they haven't budged.

I'm compiling a list of all of our peer institutions to support our position.

And yes, I must be a masochist.



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