Many US Sites Blocked in Europe After GDPR Launch

Yesterday, on May 25, 2018, the (in)famous GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has been launched and all sites having visitors from Europe need to be compliant with the new European Union policy. For most, it meant adjusting the Privacy Policy and informing users about it, but some took a rather unfortunate approach and decided to simply block any visitor coming from Europe (or European Union in fact). This includes several top-tier news sites in the US.

It was hard not to see the GDPR coming as everyone’s mailbox has been full of e-mails coming from various services and sites about their new privacy policies and GDPR compliance. Some of them were just informative while some required you to give them a consent in order to access the site or continue using the service.

Several sites in the US for which the GDPR and Europe traffic is probably not a top priority decided to simply block any visitor coming from the European Union, so they don’t need to comply with GDPR. As BBC and Gizmodo report this includes:

  • Chicago Tribune
  • LA Times
  • New York Daily News
  • Orlando Sentinel
  • Baltimore Sun
  • Arizona Daily Sun
Los Angeles Times Are Not Available for Visitors in EU

Los Angeles Times Are Not Available for Visitors in EU

From the statement itself, it looks like the restriction is only temporary and once the site will be compliant with the GDPR, it will re-open access to EU visitors.

We have tested some of these sites using a VPN connection from Switzerland and surprisingly we couldn’t access them. That’s clearly a misconception as Switzerland is not part of the European Union and therefore the GDPR shouldn’t be applied.

Other sites (HuffPost, TIME) took a different approach and will ask you to agree to their new privacy policy via a massive pop-up, rather an actual page. Unless you agree, you won’t be able to visit the site and consume its content.

HuffPost Privacy Policy Consent for EU Visitors

HuffPost Privacy Policy Consent for EU Visitors

Obviously, everyone accessing these sites from any of the European Union countries is affected. Including US citizens on vacation.

The easiest way of overcoming these troubles and getting access to any site is, of course, using a VPN product and connecting to a server located in the US or any other location besides the EU. You can even use one of the free VPNs – checkout our list of free VPN services for Windows if you are not sure which one to use.

On top, VPN product will make sure your connection is 100% encrypted, so no personal data can be stolen or connected (with exception of those you will provide to the site or service yourself).

What is GDPR in a Nutshell?

In short, GDPR obliges companies and websites to clearly state which personal data they are collecting and how they are storing them. On top, it gives users a right to object for any data to be collected and right to ask collector for any personal data to be deleted.

If any personal data are revealed to the unauthorized party (e.g. data breach), companies have to inform users within the first 72 hours after such risk occurs.

GDPR has been announced back in 2016, so all parties had enough time to make sure they will be compliant.

About Author

Craig is a big supporter and believer in freedom on the Internet and that's why he is so interested in VPN products. He doesn't have a favorite VPN vendor, because he keeps constantly switching and testing them. Craig's favorite VPN server location is Bhutan.

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