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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: [WWW] Web analytics
Date Sat, 13 Aug 2011 15:28:19 GMT

On 08/13/2011 05:55 AM, Rob Weir wrote:

> My understanding is that there were two issues raised by regulators:
> 1) Google stores IP addresses of visitors.  It does not make the IP
> addresses available to users of Google Analytics, but stores it
> themselves.  This has been interpreted by one regulator as violating a
> ban on storing personally identifying information beyond the duration
> of a session.  The interpretation is that an IP address is personally
> identifying information.
> The odd thing here is that it appears to be ignoring the state of the
> art, which is that other information, excluding IP address, is
> actually more accurate in tracking users, e.g., "fingerprinting" them
> via their browser settings, fonts, etc.  See:
>  In other words, it is the correlation
> of basic common facts that makes the user identifiable.  It doesn't
> require a single unique piece of data.
> 2) Google has an opt-out browser plugin, but it is not available for
> Opera or Safari.
>>> Storing the data ourselves is a double-edged sword.  If we store it,
>>> then we are responsible for any problems with that data.
>> Yes. And configuring Piwik the way described there it does not store
>> personally identifiable data.
> If we think Piwik addresses the IP address and the opt-out issues,
> then that sounds like a good solution.  If we think Piwik is well
> maintained, etc. I have no objections to Piwik.

OK, a couple of short comments on this -- esp Google analytics.

G. analytics requires code inserted into pages you want to track. Not a 
biggie since we have templates, but...if the analytics server is down 
(rarely but it DOES happen), this prevents page loading. Analytics is 
great but really maybe overkill for just simplistic info like browser 
identification. I have no knowledge of Piwik.

and 2) I'm surprised Apache doesn't have some internal log analysis 
program --like Awstats -- installed for the whole domain. It's really 
quite simple to deal with but, yes, does require some caretaking.


"Those who love deeply never grow old;
  they may die of old age, but they die young."
                         -- Sir Arthur Pinero

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