No French election campaign website is fully GDPR-compliant

A,Keyboard,With,A,Labeled,Button,-,Gdpr [Zerbor/Shutterstock]

French campaign websites fail to meet EU personal data protection standards, with President Emmanuel Macron’s – who recently announced his re-election run – performing the worst. EURACTIV France reports.

Data sovereignty may have been given prominence in presidential candidates’ rhetoric, but they clearly still need to work on it in practice, a study by web marketing agency Neodia has found.

No campaign websites fully complied with existing data regulations, whether in terms of data collection, consent or transparency.

However, the ‘non-compliance’ award goes to Macron, whose website collects the most personal data via US-based services like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel and Mailchimp. The collection of data sometimes takes place before consent from the users is obtained, according to Neodia’s study.

On 10 February, France’s data watchdog known as the CNIL decided that Google Analytics, which transfers data to the US, no longer complies with EU data protection law. The EU Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) strictly regulates the use of data related to political opinion in the same way as data revealing origin, religion or sexual orientation.

Right-wing candidate Valérie Pécresse, centre-right candidate Jean Lassalle, far-right candidates Marine Le Pen, Eric Zemmour and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan also use Google Analytics.

France joins Austria in finding Google Analytics illegal

Google does not sufficiently guarantee it protects European’s data gathered via Google Analytics, France’s data watchdog CNIL announced on Thursday (10 February). With Austria having recently issued a similar decision, the days of Google Analytics in Europe could be numbered. EURACTIV France reports.

However, the study also writes that some candidates have instead chosen to turn to French solutions.

Far-left candidates Philippe Poutou, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Communist Party candidate Fabien Roussel, Green candidate Yannick Jadot, and Dupont-Aignan – in addition to his website’s use of Google Analytics – use French tool offered by Matomo.

Matomo has been exempted from collecting user consent by the CNIL. “Many French companies are looking to migrate their web analytics to Matomo,” its founder, Matthieu Aubry, told EURACTIV, as more EU countries are clamping down on Google Analytics.

Nathalie Arthaud, presidential candidate for the workers’ party Lutte Ouvrière was crowned “champion of personal data respect” by Neodia for her almost flawless record in this area – her website only failed to mention the data protection officer (DPO).

Neodia also noted Zemmour’s “paradox” given that, despite his ‘French France’ rhetoric, he is not using French data processing solutions.

The candidate’s one-page digital programme calls for laws to ensure “the sensitive data of the French […] to “be hosted and secured in France on sovereign solutions”.

Google Analytics' competitors foretaste business boost following privacy debacles

Alternatives to Google Analytics could stand to benefit if the rest of the EU decides – like the Austrian and French data protection authorities already have – that the tool can no longer be used because it does not comply with EU privacy standards.

[Edited by Alice Taylor]

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