I look at Google Analytics a lot. I also report on content performance a lot. Something I have noticed a lot is that many websites have URL structures that are not data compliant.
You’re probably wondering how a URL can’t be data compliant. I’ll get to that.
Before I go further I would like to say that this post is not just for Google Analytics users – it is for anyone who is involved in creating websites or changing URLs.
Data compliance is when any stored data (either in a physical file or a digital one) follows the Data Protection Act.
The Data Protection Act states that information about a person must follow these rules:
Data protection applies to any personal data that can relate to a living individual who can be identified from the data or by combining that data with other data in the possession of the data controller.
Although “Personal data” most commonly refers to traditional data such as names and addresses, in this example I will be talking about e-mail addresses – although it could still apply to a number of other personal data examples.
Many websites require the use of an e-mail address for full access to the website for example:
And I have seen a few examples whereby a user has either logged into a website or clicked a link from a newsletter and the URL looks something like this:
Herein lies the issue: a person’s e-mail address is clearly visible within the URL. This is not data compliant due to the following:
Being unable to comply with the Data Protection Act is a serious offence – for example, fines of up to £500,000 have been issued to companies who do not comply.
If your website currently has an issue like this (You can check by using Google Analytics or other web reporting software that capture URLs) you need to make sure that where your website is capturing e-mail addresses, it either strips the URL of the e-mail address or replaces it with a token.
For any data that was previous captured that does not comply with data compliance needs to be destroyed or secured. This may mean:
If you are concerned about your data compliance within your website structure, please drop us a line and we can advise accordingly.
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