So the date has finally arrived. On the 25 of May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations have finally come into effect. Even though websites have had over 2 years to prepare themselves for the eventuality, a lot of these sites have been caught off-guard it seems. As a result, many US websites, including the likes of New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, and LA Times have blocked EU Visitors from accessing them.
Website Currently Unavailable
“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 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.”
These are some of the error messages you receive in case you attempt to access an American website that is currently not GDPR-compliant. It is yet to be seen for how long these measures will stay implemented.
It’s worth noting that a website might end up being fined up to €20million or 4% of their turnover in case they are found to be not abiding to GDPR.
List of Sites Blocked EU Users Due to GDPR
At the moment, the following sites, games, and apps have blocked EU visitors from accessing them:
- New York Daily News
- Chicago Tribune
- LA Times
- Orlando Sentinel
- Baltimore Sun
- Super Monday Night Combat
- Ragnarok Online
- Arizona Daily Star
A website going offline for Europeans simply means it is either partially or completely not compliant GDPR regulation.
What Is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation found in the EU law on the matter of data protection. It’s a legal framework that lays out the guidelines regarding the collection of individuals’ personal data within the European Union. Basically, the GDPR explains how companies and corporates can get users’ approval to use their personal information and data. Ticking the box next to “I agree to terms and conditions” is no longer regarded as a way of proving users’ consent. Bombarding users with pages and pages of terms of agreement, which no one actually reads, leads them to agree to whatever is displayed in front of them just to get it over with. This is no longer the case with GDPR as company policies now have to clearly state a request for consent in a distinguishable manner. Companies are also not allowed to ask for more personal information in exchange for upgraded or premium services.
Is There Any Way to Access These Blocked Websites?
You basically have two options here. Either wait for these sites to make the necessary changes so they become GDPR-compliant, or use a VPN to hide your European IP address. Keep in mind that if you conceal your true location via VPN, the website will assume that you’re not a citizen of the EU. Thus, GDPR will not be applied. Here’s how you can use VPN to access blocked websites from around the world.
- Sign up with the VPN provider such as ExpressVPN.
- After creating your account, you need to download, install and launch the VPN application on your device.
- Open the app and connect to the VPN server that is not located in the European Union.
Sites Block EU Visitors Due to GDPR
It seems that the risk of getting fined due to non-GDPR compliance is simply too high for these websites. They have therefore decided to temporarily suspend EU users from accessing them. No one actually knows why these major sites weren’t prepared well in advance, given that they have been given 2 years to make the necessary changes by the EU.