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eCommerce: Is Shopify illegal in Germany?

Disclaimer: We’re not lawyers and you should research your case individually if this is noteworthy for you. This is just the take of marketers spread across four continents with perspective on the connections the current state of the internet enables.

OK, before we get into Shopify and German legalese, some quick context around why this is even a question:

Back in July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said the EU-US Privacy Shield is invalid.

What that changed: Personally identifiable data of EU citizens can’t be transferred to US-based companies like Google, Meta, and many others.

That’s partly why there was news about Google Analytics being ruled as “illegal in some European countries.”

Is Shopify next? This post on Hacker News jumped out in our weekend research. Basically, a Shopify store owner was told Shopify doesn’t comply with privacy laws.

You can find the Google Translate article from German to English here.

The gist: Shopify is actually legal in Germany, according to this post on Shopify’s website (also a Google Translate link from German to English).

But the current situation around privacy laws is so complicated, Shopify is providing a dedicated email address to help.

Why is there no easy answer? Well, with the EU-US Privacy Shield becoming invalid, a hard stop of any kind of data transfer would be unrealistic.

Meanwhile, the US and EU have agreed to the new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework in principle, so it would be counterproductive to make any drastic changes while governments on either side of the Atlantic are working towards a solution.

While it’s unlikely that Shopify, Google Analytics, and many other companies will become outright banned in the EU…

… It is likely that the way they are implemented and used within the EU will evolve.

So do your due diligence, and keep yourself informed of what’s going on. You know… by reading our newsletter.