On Aug 14, 2014, at 4:32 PM, William Denton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> At the university where I work Google Analytics is the standard, and we use it on the library's web site.  There's probably no way around that---but we can tell people how to block the tracking, which will help them locally (ironically) and everwhere else.  (I use Piwik at home, and like it, but moving to that here would be a long-term project, only partly for technical reasons.)

I think a reasonable place to draw a line in the sand is "use for advertising". If you look at the Google Analytics site, it doesn't appear that they can use Analytics tracking for advertising, because they don't make the carve-outs for children that I believe would be required if they did. So if you trust google, and assume they know everything anyway, you can let them track users.

AddThis and ShareThis, on the other hand have TOS that let them use tracking for advertising, and that's what their business is. So, hypothetically, a teen could look at library catalog records for books about childbirth, and as a result, later be shown ads for pregnancy tests, and that would be something the library has permitted. 

A criminal prosecutor could subpoena either Google or AddThis/ShareThis to obtain tracking data for anyone in your library who had read books about Nazism or the Black Panthers or witchcraft,  completely without involving the library. Do you think Google would easily comply with that sort of request? would AddThis? Would EBSCO?

At, we use Google Analytics, but we have avoided Things like Facebook Like, and the third party shares because we didn't like the tradeoff.

But maybe the horse has left the barn forever.