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GDPR leads US news sites to be unavailable in EU

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As you’re no doubt completely aware thanks to the state of your inbox, the European Union’s new privacy and data laws, the General Data Protection Regulation, have come into force.

In the lead up to the GDPR deadline, there was a lot of talk about the impact the new regulations would have on people’s online experiences and whether companies would log-in to their email provider on the morning of Friday 25th May to find that all of their subscribers had left.

To say that GDPR was being forecast as some kind of apocalypse is no exaggeration. However, one thing that no one saw coming was that some major US websites have now become unavailable to people in European countries.

The blocked sites include the LA Times, New York Daily News, Chicago Times, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, and Baltimore Sun, the Daily Telegraph reported.

This blackout revelation follows news that complaints have already been made arguing that Facebook, Google, and WhatsApp have already breached the regulations.

GDPR aims to give EU citizens more rights and control over how their personal data is used. Businesses must now get express consent when collecting personal information and any company found to flout the rules will face a fine of either up to €20m or 4% of a company’s annual turnover – whichever is higher.

As BBC News reports, the majority of these sites are within the Tronc and Lee Enterprises media publishing groups.

Tronc includes the New York Daily Times, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Orlando Sentinel, and Baltimore Sun. Their message reads: “Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provider all readers with our award-winning journalism.”

Meanwhile, the statement from Lee Enterprises, which publishes 46 daily newspapers across 21 states, read: “We’re sorry. This site is temporarily unavailable. We recognise you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and, therefore, cannot grant you access at this time.”

Other sites like CNN and the New York Times have not been affected, while the Washington Post and Time are requiring EU users to agree to new terms.

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