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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: [WWW] Web analytics
Date Sun, 14 Aug 2011 15:35:52 GMT

On 08/13/2011 07:23 PM, Rob Weir wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 11:28 AM, Kay Schenk<>  wrote:
>> On 08/13/2011 05:55 AM, Rob Weir wrote:
>> <--snip-->
>>> 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.
>> <--snip-->
>> 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.
> That was first generation.  Google Analytics now has an asynchronous
> option, which allows the page to render while the tracking code does
> its stuff in the background.  No idea if Piwik allows that as well.

oops! OK -- my bad. Haven't kept up with this in a while.

Still I can't help but think that Analytics, with its individual 
registration (i.e. by a designated individual) might be more of an 
administrative headache than we really need for simple tracking stats.
It's a great service but would it serve our administrative setup needs?

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


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

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