Google Web Fonts - Action Required!

In advance: Data protection is important, and especially in the area of online marketing and digital media, customer data is sometimes used on a massive scale. Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, many things have moved in the right direction and awareness has been created for the topic of data protection. But unfortunately, there is still uncertainty in many areas and website operators are confronted with the fact that they are forced to deal with the matter very intensively by numerous court rulings. 

Clearly, this topic is interdisciplinary and requires an examination of the requirements and content of the GDPR, but also of the way in which a website is structured in detail. 

Currently, for example, there is a decision of the Regional Court of Munich on the integration of Google web fonts when they are integrated directly from Google servers. This topic may need some explanation, because it is very technical:

It is not the use of web fonts per se that is problematic, but the fact that when a website is called up, a font is automatically loaded from an external server (in this case from Google) on the user's end device. The (dynamic) IP address of the user is transmitted for the loading of the font and this is, according to the interpretation, personal information. Google itself states that it does not actively work with this "information" - but nevertheless, this is a transfer of personal data to a server that is operated outside the EU and, due to the ineffectiveness of the "Privacy Shield" agreement, constitutes a violation of the GDPR.

Since this transmission could be avoided by not loading the fonts from the Google servers but keeping them locally (on the website's web server), the Munich Regional Court ruled that the use of Google web fonts via the Google servers is not permitted. 

This means that many websites have to be adapted individually - otherwise there is the threat of a warning. 

For customers with Software Maintenance Agreement (SMA) or CareTaker contracts, we proactively check for the use of non-locally embedded Google Web Fonts and contact you if any adjustments are necessary. 

Once more the operation of a website becomes more complicated and once more the operator of a website has to face the fact that a once created website has to be adapted already again. Unfortunately, this dynamic can hardly be avoided - but with active support from us as an agency, we can at least support you in such matters and perform related activities. 

Need help embedding Google Web Fonts locally? 

We will be happy to advise you on this topic. Get in touch with us!