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Last week, the French national data protection authority (the Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des Libertés or “CNIL”), published guidelines for what it considers to be a GDPR-compliant way of loading Google Analytics and similar marketing technology tools. The CNIL published these guidelines following notices that the CNIL and other data protection authorities issued to several organizations using Google Analytics stating that such use resulted in impermissible data transfers to the United States. Today, we are excited to announce a set of features and a practical step-by-step guide for using Zaraz that we believe will help organizations continue to use Google Analytics and similar tools in a way that will help protect end user privacy and avoid sending EU personal data to the United States. And the best part? It takes less than a minute.
Enter Cloudflare Zaraz.
What we are releasing today is a new set of privacy features to help our customers enhance end user privacy. Starting today, on the Zaraz dashboard, you can apply the following configurations:
https://example.com. This will allow users to remove query parameters, such as UTM, gclid, and the sort that can be used for fingerprinting. This setting will apply to all of your Zaraz integrations.
We wrote this guide to help you implement our new features when using Google Analytics. We will use Google Analytics (Universal) as the example of this guide, because Google Analytics is widely used by Zaraz customers. You can follow the same principles to set up your Facebook Pixel, or other server-side integration that Zaraz offers.
All customers have access to the Zaraz dashboard. By default, when you add Google Analytics using the Zaraz tools library, it will load server-side. You do not need to set up any cloud environment or proxy server. Zaraz handles this for you. When you add a tool, Zaraz will start loading on your website, and a request will leave from the end user’s browser to a Cloudflare Worker that sits on your own domain. Cloudflare Workers is our edge computing platform, and this Worker will communicate directly with Google Analytics’ servers. There will be no direct communication between an end user’s browser and Google’s servers. If you wish to learn more about how Zaraz works, please read our previous posts about the unique Zaraz architecture and how we use Workers. Note that “proxying” Google Analytics, by itself, is not enough, according to the CNIL’s guidance. You will have to take more actions to make sure you set up Google Analytics properly.
All you need to do to set up Google Analytics is to enter your Tracking ID. On the tools setting screen, you would also need to toggle-on the “Hide Originating IP Address” feature. This will prevent Zaraz from sending the visitor’s IP address to Google. Zaraz will remove the IP address on the Edge, before it hits Google’s servers. If you want to make sure Zaraz will run only in the EU, review Cloudflare’s Data Localization Suite.
According to your needs, you can of course set up more complex configurations of Google Analytics, including Ecommerce tracking, Custom Dimension, fields to set, Custom Metrics, etc. Follow this guide for more instructions.
Next, you will need to toggle-on all of our new privacy features mentioned above. You can do this on the Zaraz Settings page, under the Privacy section.
In this step, you would need to take actions to clean your specific Google Analytics setting. We gathered a list of suggestions for you to help preserve end user privacy:
A few more things you will want to consider is that implementing this guide will result in some limitations in your ability to use Google Analytics. For example, not collecting UTM parameters and referrers will disable your ability to track traffic sources and campaigns. Not tracking User ID, will prevent you from using the User ID View, and so on. Some companies will find these limitations extreme, but like most things in life, there is a trade-off. We’re taking a step towards a more privacy-oriented web, and this is just the beginning. In the face of new regulatory constraints, new technologies will appear which will unlock new abilities and features. Zaraz is dedicated to leading the way, offering privacy-focused tools that empower website operators and protect end users.
To wrap up, we would really appreciate any feedback on this announcement, or new feature requests you might have. You can reach out to your Cloudflare account manager, or directly to us on our Discord channel. Privacy is at the heart of everything our team is building.
We always take a proactive approach towards privacy, and we believe privacy is not only about responding to different regulations, it is about building technology that helps customers do a better job protecting their users. It is about simplifying what it takes to respect and protect user privacy and personal information. It is about helping build a better Internet.