The European Union’s digital privacy law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), officially went into effect today. But some websites in the U.S. have decided to block their services entirely rather than adhere to the new regulations. Dozens of American newspapers are currently blocked in Europe and web services like Instapaper have suspended operations in the European Union for the foreseeable future.
First reported by the BBC, news sites owned by media companies like Tronc and Lee Enterprises are now totally dark in European Union countries. Some of those sites include the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, the St. Louis Dispatch, the Chicago Tribune, and the Orlando Sentinel. Gizmodo was able to confirm that the websites were being blocked in Europe by using a VPN service that routed internet traffic through various European countries.
Internet users who visit sites like the L.A. Times receive a notification like the one below, explaining:
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 provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.
Attempting to reach a site like the Arizona Daily Sun from Europe gives you this notice:
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.
The reaction to the blocks in Europe has been mixed, with some people blaming the European Union for enacting a law that they see as too burdensome on companies, while others wondered what these newspapers were doing with everyone’s data that would put them in violation of the GDPR in the first place.