Thoughts on google fonts and GDPR

(Joel Fletcher) #1

The initial hysteria about GDPR has past, and I cleaned up my site pretty extensively. I got rid of google analytics and replaced it with Matomo (with GDPR friendly settings). I ditched Vimeo embeds due to the many cookies and tracking they do, and replaced them with self-hosted html5 video. I checked to verify that my site does not install cookies, and added a privacy page. I think my site is basically clean.

However, I am using a google font. Some are of the opinion that google fonts are taboo with GDPR, because even though no cookies are installed, google does have access to the IP address of the user. Others say it is a “grey area”. Frankly, I am kind of okay with “grey area”. Unless some countries are blocking their use or something?

Anyone care to share their thoughts about using google fonts in the GDPR era?

(Rob D) #2

I don’t know about others, but I think you’ve done the right thing. Next thing I would do, I would make sure that my fonts are self-hosted (especially in case of Google Fonts). Foundry lets you do that. ThemeFlood’s themes have dozens of fonts built-in, some other themes probably have similar abilities.

(Joel Fletcher) #3

Yes, I would prefer to self-host the google fonts, which I use for the header, navigation, and titles. I am using Foundation, which appears not have any built-in way to do that. If someone knows a free or inexpensive method to self-host fonts using Foundation, I’m listening!

(Joe Workman) #4

You can type in a custom Font Family into Site Styles. But this means that you would be responsible for loading the font file your self. Its pretty simple…

Font Pro can definitely help you with this as well… It’s a very powerful font loading and styling tool.

(Jan Fuellemann) #5

You can use the custom font stack from @instacks, it works very well for me:

It is free, so you can test it with Foundation.

Kind regards,

(Gary) #6

The smart approach is to take control of anything served from a remote server such as Google fonts, if this is possible. It certainly is possible in RW+Stacks with the right stacks, but you have to jump through some hoops. Elixir gets full marks for putting in place an easy to implement way to load Google Fonts by May 25 in Foundry. As Fuellemann pointed out, you can use the free inStacks CustomFont stack to load Google Fonts in Foundation. (This is exactly how I loaded local GF in my Foundation version of Project15).

Once you do load them locally, you have the freedom to use any web font you like and not just be restricted to Google Fonts.

(Joel Fletcher) #7

Many thanks Joe, Jan, and Gary for your suggestions. Joe’s Font Pro would do the trick nicely, but it is kind of overkill for what I need and pricey. The “font face rule” looks like it could work, but is a workaround, so not sure if that is the right solution. The Custom Font stack looks promising, and free at that! I really like Foundation, but it seems to me that Foundation should have an easy built-in way to implement warehoused fonts. Especially since the competition, Foundry, has responded to GDPR needs and has that option as a feature. :wink:

(Andrew Tavernor) #8

Foundation was actually the first RW platform to fully support self hosted fonts and professional typography via the Font Styles stack 3 years ago .

At the time, virtually no on was interested in it as they just wanted the simple Google CDN approach, despite Google Fonts at the time being pretty substandard for the most part. Since then, Google Fonts have greatly improved in quality.

I withdrew Font Styles in response to the lack of general interest and that the specialist interest could then be served by the new Font Pro.

Regarding your original question, then in reality the jury is still out as it were. There is no definitive judgement on whether Google Fonts violate GDPR. Countless links have been posted on the GDPR subject pointing to various pages, none of which are actual case law or court findings.

I don’t propose that we open the GDPR debate again but suffice to say several of my sites still use Google Fonts and will do so as a matter of principle until there is actual legal evidence that indicates to the contrary. I don’t particularly like Google but I like profiteering scaremongering solicitors even less.

(Joel Fletcher) #9

Andrew, I appreciate your take on the google fonts GDPR issue, and agree that there is no definitive judgement on the matter. Still, I like the idea of self-hosting custom fonts, especially if it can be done with relative ease. Interesting that you came up with the Font Styles stack, which was the origin of Font Pro. You were ahead of your time!

(Barrie McDermid) #10

Hi Andrew,

Might there be any chance that this stack could be reintroduced?

(Andrew Tavernor) #11

I’m afraid not, I try hard to make new and unique stacks that do not compete with paid stacks on which people make their living.