Complying with the Cookie Law and turning the switches off for the NSA

Posted on:August 28 2013

Today, I started to change my websites a bit under the hood to reflect the recent changes of how the internet works, especially regarding the NSA spying program PRISM and the EU cookie law.
Background: In short, the EU cookie law - depending on which country you live in, your users are from and where your server is - makes using cookies on your website a pain: Some countries demand you to show a message box prompting you to ask the user before you are able to store any cookies, in some countries like in mine - Austria - this is a bit more sane, where they specified that if the user hasn't disabled cookies in the browser settings, then it's like he agreed to use cookies. The other one, PRISM, is that program run by the american spying agency, which basically stores and indexes nearly every internet traffic crossing the USA and probably also their friend countries.

So I thought it would be a good idea to get rid of all unncessary cookies, and to remove traffic routed through the USA. The first big step thing I did in order to do this was to remove Google Analytics from my main website, No longer will all data of my visitors be sent to the Google Servers. Additionally, I wanted to replace it with an alternative which can work without cookies. So I researched a bit, stumbled upon Piwik, installed it, and was happy. And boy, Piwki is great! Here's what it looked like for me after I installed it:

Everything works just like Google Analytics. You only have to install it on a webserver, and add a tracking code to your websites. You can modify that code even to work without cookies. It has a realtime view of current visits to your website, and you can easily filter your statistics into different segments. And you have full control of it. It runs on your own SQL database, after all. Im really impressed by this software.
So just by replacing Google Analytics with Piwik, the website is now much nicer, regarding the above mentioned two points. I'll do this with my other websites as well soon.

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