Be fair to potential customers (Privacy / Google Analytics on the FP website)

I don’t use the links from FP newsletters either. FP uses tracking everywhere.


@danielsjohan: I understand what you mean :slight_smile: Nothing taken personal. I’ve defended the FairPhone against complaints about not being perfect myself when it came out, might even have bought one if I had felt the necessity to buy a new phone, and alternate OS would be available. If I can believe the press, they’re at least looking into the later now, so all the better.

So trust me, while I was complaining loudly here, I still do have a lot of respect for them for what they did, not just with their own phone, but with all the raising awareness that surrounds the whole process.

And I probably have tons of bad experience of privacy complaints by email. Or even letters to the responsible authorities, where I can expect an answer some years later (not due to laziness, but simply insufficient resources), at least in my country. Voicing privacy concerns in the public simply is the most effective method. Granted, I could have assumed FairPhone is better than the average and could have tried by mail first…


Stefan, being a mod here, to the newcomer you somehow do represent Fairphone…

That’s why I am clarifying the situation and said that this critique should go directly to the FP team. I just told @PepiMK, that the FP team probably won’t read this here on the forum. Still I think, it is good that the FP community gets aware about these issues and it is good that @PepiMK brought the topic up so it can be discussed here on the forum.

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Hi guys,

Chiming in here as a Fairphone team member and the guy who may have insight into website privacy settings.

I’d like to turn this around and ask you what you would advise is the best way to go - to ensure the privacy of users of the Fairphone website.

The reality is that we use Google analytics or analytics in our newsletter mail client so that we can improve our communications. If we see a surge of people coming from France, then this could influence what content we create for a French-speaking audience, like delivering a website landing page in French. Another example is that it’s really helpful to see which blog posts are most-read: is our community more interested in reading about mining or software?

Turning these tools off would really limit our ability to improve the work we do.

So if you can think of ways to improve these tools (Google Analytics) and make them more private/anonymous, let me know. I don’t install these tools myself, but off the top of my head, all these analytics are anonymous. The example of Facebook Social Graph, is one I can research, can you give more information on what you see as the problem?


Thanks for your reply and for taking my comments seriously :smile:
I tried to mention the alternatives in my first post, but will gladly summarize them.

Upfront: in the European Union, IP addresses are ususally regarded as PII, so even if a website just contacts another website, that’s regarded as sharing PII with them.

Now, lets start with Google Analytics. The {‘anonymizeIp’: true} option would be a start, it allows to anonymize the IP. More documentation here, just a minor change in one line. But it still depends on Google, still forwards information to Google. Well, I understand what you are using it for, and never suggested you give that up :wink: We were at the same point when we re-launched our website a few years ago. One solution is Piwik. Piwik allows about the same functionality, but is installed locally on your server (one of your servers). That way, you don’t share your visitors information with anyone else.

Now on to the social media issue. Your social media buttons are automatically contacting these service, including Facebook. So Facebook can easily track the users that visit your website. There’s a very simple workaround used by more and more pages: a panel that connects only once the user clicks it. The first version of this is called SocialSharePrivacy and is widely spread. The new version eliminates the additional click, is called Shariff, and available here. It’s really just a few minutes to set up, but eliminates the tracking of all website visitors by Facebook etc., while maintaining the same functionality for those that want to use it.


Besides the issue with Facebook etc., A very simple server log will do. Your server sees our IPs, just log the country and the URL. There is no need for any imbedded tools at all.


@PepiMK thanks for starting that software by the way, I used it to clean up a lot of malware infected computers in my friends and family circles :smile:

And great that you took the time to write down you concerns surrounding Fairphones website!

//edit: was indeed talking about Spybot Search & Destroy, see link further below in this post.


Which software would that be?

I believe it’s Spybot – Search & Destroy


Thanks, @PepiMK, for the detailed response.

I will definitely pass this on to our website developers, and see what we can do with your feedback. Some of the changes seem quite feasible, but don’t know the implementation timeline yet. Thanks again.


News about privacy on the FP-Homepage:

[quote]With online communications, nowadays it’s assumed there’s a tool out there to measure the impact of your campaign. How did advertising execs know that their billboard led to x number of sales that week? So we’re pretty lucky to have tools like Google Analytics (anonymizing IPs of course) and analytics dashboards from Facebook and Twitter to see which posts lead to engagement with our website and our shop. At Fairphone we’re conscious that people may be concerned about privacy, so we do hope to use these tools not in a creepy-tracking way, but to improve the way people find information on our website and see what our community thinks is interesting content. If we work really hard on a new project page on “Improving working conditions at manufacturer x”, we can’t assume everyone is reading straight from the landing page, we need to look at the analytics and see how it sizes up to the other pages on the site so we can improve and iterate.

In a way, there are so many tools and insights out there, the key is to have focused research questions to make sure you’re looking for the right thing. As community manager, on Facebook I look for engagement (likes, shares, comments) to track what kind of posts work or need to be improved, reach to try and crack the strange Facebook algorithm that sometimes has a huge reach and sometimes has a tiny reach, and new likes which could correlate to a popular post or if we were in a big news article that week. For Twitter, it’s interesting to measure our new followers (influencers), favorites/retweets for certain posts to see if our content was successful, and reach to see how followers can spread our message through their networks.[/quote]

The whole interview with @anon90052001 can be found here.


I didn’t read this thread when it came up,but I take it from Stefan’s post that @PepiMK actually triggered fairphone to change the tracking behaviour of their website.

I am with @Shiny here (thank you for your very thoughtful and positive post!): fairphone is a learning company, and it learns from people who criticise them. I wonder if @PepiMK could comment on the changes Fairphone did, and tell us if he had any further contact besides Joe’s reply here on the forum? =)


Yes, we made changes to how we use Google Analytics in terms of privacy based on feedback from community members, including @PepiMK.


Here’s what the developer fixed in terms of privacy/security on our website:

  • Google provides an option to remove the last 3 numbers of an IP address (anonymization of IP). Normally Google would store the the full IP (which is a unique internet connection) and now Google stores an IP address with the last 3 numbers removed which effectively reduces the ability to trace back info to one internet connection.

  • Developer turned off sharing Google analytics data with other Google services in the Google Dashboard. So now Google doesn’t use analytics data from to improve their other services.

  • For all social statistics across the site, we make a quick connection to Facebook, Mailchimp, Twitter. In the past, this call was made from the user’s connection (and thus Facebook could potentially link this with a current logged in Facebook account), and now the information is called from Fairphone’s server, so it’s not potentially linked anymore.


So now that fairphone changed its website, should I allow Google Analytics so FP can benefit from it or should I block it so Google doesn’t benefit from it?

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Thanks for looking into improving your tracking!

It’s great to see that you now use the anonymization feature of Google Analytics and have disabled sharing! I still would have loved to see thew keep the data in house, but this is the best way possible for Google Analytics probably :slight_smile:

Also my thanks for indeed using Shariff to stop social media from directly tracking visitors of your page. Perfect!

It seems FairPhone is now using a commercial social media service (TwineSocial) that’s still directly receiving PII (in the form of IPs) on at least one page (can’t find it again now), and there’s the use of DISQUS on blog posts, which is not mentioned in the privacy policy yet, but this is the way to go, thanks for treating us fair :slight_smile:


Hi PepiMK,

Aside from Google Analytics we’re also taking a more hands-on approach to learning more about our users.
Would be great if you could participate in these conversations and help us improve your experience on the website :smiley:

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I want to very strongly second the use of Piwik suggested by @PepiMK.

I’m blocking Google Analytics where ever I can, and I won 't unblock it.
I very rarely look at what is blocked nowadays and only recently noticed it is used here.


I would also like to get a new answer from Fairphone whether/why Google Analytics is really needed or if there are plans to use Piwik instead.

I just went to and turned uBlock off. The list of domains to which the website connects contains many tracking and advertisement (!) servers. It also is quite long and the site takes longer to load.

Does the Privacy Policy really cover all of these?

And, given recent attention to this topic, some of the trackers make regular requests no matter what I do on the website. Does provide this “session replay” service or similar data? Is it also active in the shop (and thus might send addresses, credit card numbers etc. to third parties)?

In particular, this is listing facebook, so I wonder whether the following claim by @anon90052001 is no longer true?

Oh, and May next year is a good occasion to switch to self-hosted tracking software.


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