Matomo ensures the privacy of your users and analytics data

YOU keep control of your data.

 When using Matomo you can either self-host with Matomo On-Premise, or through Matomo’s cloud hosting servers. Both hosting options give you 100% data ownership and protect your user’s privacy. 

One of Matomo's guiding principles: respecting privacy

Matomo Analytics On-Premise is privacy by design. All data collected is stored only within your own MySQL database, no other business (or Matomo team member) can access any of this information, and logs or report data will never be sent to other servers by Matomo. 

The source code of the software is open-source so hundreds of people have reviewed it to ensure it is secure and keeps your data private.

Matomo Cloud

There is also Matomo Cloud, and although it’s stored on Matomo’s servers, our policy makes it clear that privacy is assured and the data is completely owned by you.

How do you set up privacy settings in Matomo Analytics (for On-Premise and Cloud)?

Have a read of our Privacy user guide if you’re keen on setting up privacy settings in Matomo. 

Privacy applied to web analytics logs: a philosophical choice?

Privacy on the internet is a major concern for many users and companies today. We spend so much time online that access to our internet activity logs (websites, pages visited, internet searches) can reveal a lot of personal information about ourselves, our life, and work.

Read our blog post on Data Privacy Day to learn more about why privacy is important.

When using a web analytics tool like Google Analytics, your web analytics data is tracked, stored and often owned by the company providing you with the free analytics service. 

While they provide an excellent service for free, there are privacy sacrifices as they also re-use the visits log data tracked on your website to enrich existing profiles for a given user or IP address.

Here are a few examples of how websites can gather your personal information while you’re away from the website:

Google

If you use Google Analytics on your website, Google knows all the IP addresses (and other browser unique identifiers) of your visitors to your website (and which pages they’ve looked at on your site). So Google, for example, will know the six other websites that person visited earlier that day, and the 367 websites she/he looked at in the last month. 

Google Analytics dominates the industry with a market share of 85.3%, coupled with their other products such as Adsense, you can see their far-reaching influence when considering how these products use tracking beacons. 

Because most other websites also use GA (or another Google product), Google is able to build a very accurate picture of most websites visited by any given user.

Facebook

Facebook has a whopping social widget market share of 47.4% (source w3techs). When you visit a website with a Facebook like button (or any other FB functionality) your browser will send data (and your IP address) to Facebook. 

Little reported is Facebook’s underhanded activities in creating shadow profiles that have been created about you and continue collecting data about you. If you’re logged out or even if you’re not a Facebook member, they still keep track of the websites and articles your IP address (and other browser unique identifiers) was looking at. 

This means « even if you’ve never signed up for Facebook, the company still has a general sense of who you are, gathered through uploaded contact lists, photos, or other sources, » said US Rep. Ben Luján when he confronted Mark Zuckerberg at his congressional hearing.

Add to that the Cambridge Analytica data and privacy breach scandals that continue to compromise privacy at a fundamental level. 

Why is this profiling for marketing purposes considered a “problem” for Matomo users?

Privacy is becoming increasingly important to us as we spend more of our lives ‘connected’ on the internet. While Google provides amazing services for free, we’re still concerned about where and how our private information is being used. 

Websites like Google and Facebook are able to build an enormous profile of all websites and pages looked at by most internet users worldwide (even if they’re not Google or Facebook users).

One of their main goals is to improve the re-marketing of Google Ads and Facebook Ads to internet users and find the right advertising segments for the right ad. But many internet users and website operators are growing concerned about what could be termed a Global Internet User Activity Database and its moral implications. You don’t need to be a Privacy Junkie to be interested in the challenges and moral implications of gathering so much data on the internet. 

We choose not to discuss the details here but recommend you check out the Privacy section of the EFF website to learn more.

Opting out of all data collection and remain anonymous online

To opt-out of all web tracking technologies (including Google Analytics and Matomo), using an extension such as Noscript or Ghostery is the safest way: these browser extensions will disable all the known JavaScript trackers and ensure your browser doesn’t send a request to external tracking servers.

If you wish to browse the internet without your IP address being tracked at all, please consider using Tor Browser which will automatically connect you to the secure and anonymous Tor network. 

If you wish to send and receive emails that are coded to make sure a surveillance agent or thief intercepting your email can’t read it, check out the email self defense guide. If you wish to stay completely anonymous online, please see the PDF guide: How to remain anonymous online.

Ways Matomo protects the privacy of your users and customers

Although Matomo Analytics is a web analytics software that has a purpose to track user activity on your website, we take privacy very seriously, both on our Cloud service and with our On-Premise offering. 

Privacy is a fundamental right so by downloading Matomo you can rest assured you have 100% control over that data and can protect your user’s privacy as it’s on your own server.

From the time we created Matomo, we have strived to build advanced privacy protections in Matomo:

These privacy features, along with the open and decentralised nature of Matomo, mean your users’ privacy is respected.

Why choose Matomo for privacy?

"As one of the leading secure and private email solutions mailfence.com attaches the utmost importance to security and respect for privacy. We therefore selected Matomo as our open source digital analytics platform, in order to track traffic on our commercial site while preserving total control of the data and fully respect the privacy of our users."

Patrick De Schutter | Co-Founder + Managing Director

The Centre for Data Privacy Protection in France (CNIL) lists Matomo as a tool that can easily ensure full compliance with privacy regulations. Matomo (Piwik) privacy compliance is also reflected by the many government agencies who already trust and rely on Matomo (in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa) for providing self-hosted web analytics.

Government agencies that choose Matomo

government of india

Matomo adheres to GDPR

Matomo can be configured to automatically anonymise data so you don’t process any personal information. You can make sure you’re not processing any PII (Personally Identifiable Information) with Matomo. This allows you to completely avoid GDPR.

However, you can also learn more about how you can still use Matomo Analytics and be GDPR compliant at the same time. 

Conclusion

Matomo On-Premise is the leading self-hosted, privacy compliant, decentralised, modern and free (GPL License) web analytics platform. By using Matomo and configuring a few options as explained in this guide, you will ensure all of your valuable information is private and owned by one person (you!) and that your website also, just as importantly, respects your visitors’ privacy.

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Our Privacy Policy

If you want to get a deeper understanding of Matomo’s commitment to privacy, have a read of our Privacy Policy here.

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