Google Analytics: we ignored Data Retention Controls email but it insists on Data Processing Terms

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There were TWO google analytics updates. There has been some discussion at WA already on the google analytics Data Retention Controls review and it was concluded by most people that we didn't have to do anything except ignore those emails - fine. Unless you have a personal preference already on all that.

Google is sending out more than one update

However notice that not all the google update emails were on the same subject, they have another GDPR update in circulation at the same time concerning Data Processing, different from Data Retention, and we can't ignore the Data Processing one it seems. I've a link to the training walk through at the bottom of this blog.

Google putting the work on the people

There are some very interesting articles on how google is throwing all of this onto us to do ourselves when really they should be doing it especially since they are the main collectors and users of the data too and they are creating a lot of uncertainty and chaos out there.

  • This one explains why european businesses are seeking new optins .

  • This one explains where you can access the Data Retention Controls setting [if you really want to, this is the Admin Property Settings route which is why people can get a bit lost when they go to do the other Data Processing Terms update in Admin Account Settings]
  • And it also has a bit of a laugh at the cheek of Google to be putting it's work on other people and giving people a bunch of tools they've no idea how to use.

If you scroll down to the bottom of that article you will see 13 comments where American website owners discuss the changes they do or do not have to make because of this 'Data Retention Controls' email they sent us.

Some interesting things that come up in the comments:

  1. The default setting for retention of data is 26 months if you don't change anything.
  2. Data retention limits still don't give customers control over tracking cookies, or explain them or allow them to op out. And this is a point I was making in my blog concerning privacy policy updates on our websites, they seem pretty limited in their reach if you think they are going to solve all your problems imo, but if you've an opinion on that please hop in to the discussion.
  3. US website owners were the ones discussing these things! Yet there remains a lot of confusion among US members as to whether they should take note of GDPR.
  4. Major confusion with some people worried and choosing the lowest data retention setting, others leaving as is, others wanting to leave it longest possible and then the chilled WA members who concluded 'ignore and no action required' lol, eg the comments on Patsy's blog I'm saying is fine on data retention but don't ignore all google emails, they are not all on the same subject and the data processing one does need some attention.

Conclusion: Your GDPR Checklist

1. Google analytics, do the walk through and if Review and Accept amendment to the Data Processing Terms comes up then you click and go through.

Here is the walkthrough on the steps for Data Processing Terms update.

2. Data Retention Controls, likely nothing we have to do.

3. Privacy policy updates, check in SiteContent for whatever Kyle and Carson have there however that alone is unlikely to cover GDPR if you are collecting names or using tracking cookies or recording IP addresses, which contact forms and autoresponders and affiliate programs tend to do.

4. In this blog I show what some people are doing in terms of re-subscribe to list, double optins, plugins, and the definition of personal data where simply a name and surname fits the definition of what they are now protecting with GDPR 'general data protection regulations'.

5. If you've any thoughts or ideas or contributions leave them or your links below.

Basically to remember that the legislators have confused everyone and many people are selling information to make a quick buck on the back of that, the average blogger should not have to get legal advice, but demonstrate a genuine effort to cover your ass, like everyone else, imo.


Update: since this post I've had time to wade in the official GDPR websites and have written up a summary of GDPR action steps here

ps notice a lot of hype about anonymization of IP address in Google Analytics, however Privacy by Design means this is google's job and not ours, they can anonymize european IP addresses at the back end instead of forcing all of us to take advanced training in GA or buying silly premium plugins that are unnecessary. Also, GDPR allows us to use what is necessary, we do not need explicit consent for everything, just to be open about it.

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Recent Comments


Thanks for analyzing these changes Mary! I have seen an update bar at the top of Google Analytics page but haven't clicked on it yet. It appears time to click on it and learn more about these changes.


their update bar can lead to a maze of pages, so when you're ready you can do the walk through here :)

Hi Mary, well said.

I only received the Data Retention email I had no idea about the other one so when I wrote my post on it, its where I got more clarification on it.

No one mentioned Data Processing in my post, then heard later that was for the UK? so I didn't think much more about it.

Hi Patsy, no not confined to UK, it's for everyone affected by GDPR, ie european traffic, it's in their small print 'outside the EEA affected by gdpr regulations', people are updating it in the US and Canada ie it's in their GA when they go into admin to update, but it seems google didn't specifically ask you guys then?

They confused people by sending out two different updates in two different emails, that looked identical. Now they are being confusing saying it applies to anyone affected by gdpr - which you are if they already sent you the first email...their bad.

Yes well Google is a pain in the ass!

Thanks for sharing Mary!!

Tried and True


Thank you Elaine! Best wishes with it all.

Thanks Mary, for your in depth and informative info on this messy situation that seems to get more and more complicated.

Thanks Marcus! :)

Hi Mary,

In our Affiliate Disclosure;
Our Disclaimer;
Privacy Policy

What would be the kinds of info we need to insert exactly to be covered there?


I'd look to Kyle for that, he has been supplying our templates.

I see businesses online however selling this sort of information, and one common denominator is they are all guessing

The external link blogs I included in this post have a discussion going on, 13 comments and they discuss privacy policy to some extent in there

That is great Mary, thank you very much, and I CAN' BELIEVE the vulgers are selling guess work to others online -what if they are wrong - great way to get sued.

oh that is the way of many a company sales policy over the years, gets sales and marketing a bad name, but in the end in a stampede panic like this gdpr no one will likely ever be able to find out - most website owners rely on someone else to set up their privacy and everything else

- until google eventually chases us with the new postal addresses it just collected, lol

Hi Mary,
Thank you for this. It totally confuses me too Mary. I'm still not sure what I am doing but I will re read through this again and Pop over to your other post.
Thank you Debs :)

Thanks Debs, your type of niche is more business oriented than affiliate marketing with the parking isn't it, look at the training on google analytics and do the data processing terms update

in the blog definitions of personal data show any sort of collecting of name and surname, or the shopping cart details businesses and what others are doing, but you may not be dependent on lists so much

Europe still didn't get the cookie law applied uniformly or accurately, so many interpretations of that, this likely can't go any smoother and that is what's panning out

Thank you for that Mary yes I have another one that's a local business and two in affiliate marketing. I'll do that though with my parking one. Thank you Mary you are a diamond :) If I get stuck I'll give you Pm if that's OK with you . Thank you ☺

Sure, though you'll need the GA update with the affiliate marketing ones too.

Thank you Mary :-)

Good Morning Mary,

Really shocking that Google passes on the mess.
We have dived into it and are still busy with covering our derriere.

Greetings from the south of Spain, Taetske

yeah, we are too silent and need a voice methinks, otherwise we get steamrolled right over, and lumped in with some people using slimy marketing that actually needs all the high protection...

lol, still busy covering your derriere there :D

Thank you so much, Mary! This has all been so confusing. I really appreciate you taking your time to do the research and share:)

Thanks Suzi, yep it's all a blur and other people passing the buck :D

Thanks Mary. Appreciate this.

Thank you :)

I'm trying to understand this data retention controls, I'm ignoring this notice on my Google Adsense.

I'm not using adsense but see the comments on the links I provided where people discuss it, no one is ultimately worried because 26 months default position is over 2 years hanging onto data, but let us know if you find something out :)

Thank you.

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