GDPR Arrival Sees Certain US Websites Blocked

The arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has resulted in some website outages in Europe, as certain well known US news channels have been blocked.

The GDPR rules dictate that companies working in the EU must get express consent to collect personal information, or face hefty fines.

This has resulted in a deluge of GDPR emails into most people’s Inbox’s, requesting that they agree to the new rules.

US outage

Among the websites blocked were the Chicago Times and LA Times, which posted essages saying they were currently unavailable in most European countries, said the BBC.

News sites within the Tronc and Lee Enterprises media publishing groups were also affected.

Tronc’s news titles include the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun.

Lee Enterprises meanwhile publishes 46 daily newspapers across 21 states.

“Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries,” Tronc said. “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’re sorry. This site is temporarily unavailable,” said the message from Lee Enterprises. “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 big name American news channels such as CNN and the New York Times seem to be more prepared and were not affected.

The Washington Post and Time however is asking EU users to agree to new terms.

GDPR arrival

Earlier this month a survey revealed a horrible complacency and lack of preparation among British businesses about GDPR.

The survey from cyber security firm ThinkMarble found that 73 percent of British businesses remain unaware of the lawful basis for processing data ahead of GDPR deadline on 25 May.

The EU passed the GDPR nearly two years ago (6 April 2016), but a 24-month grace period ends on 25 May, when enforcement effectively begins. As a result, organisations should be currently altering their privacy practices to comply with the law.

“This is it,” tweeted the European Commission on Thursday. “Today, our EU #DataProtection rules enter into application, putting the Europeans back in control of their data. Europe asserts its digital sovereignty and gets ready for the digital age.”

“Europe’s new data protection rules will be a reality tomorrow,” said Andrus Ansip, VP for the Digital Single Market in a statement. “Europeans’ privacy will be better protected and companies benefit from a single set of rules across the EU.”

“Strong data protection rules are the basis for a functioning Digital Single Market and for the online economy to prosper,” he added. “The new rules ensure that citizens can trust in how their data is used and that the EU can make the best of the opportunities of the data economy.”

“Our new data protection rules were agreed for a reason: Two thirds of Europeans are concerned about the way their data was being handled, feeling they have no control over information they give online,” he concluded. “Companies need clarity to be able to safely extend operations across the EU. Recent data scandals confirmed that with stricter and clearer data protection rules we are doing the right thing in Europe.”

The Commission said it would continue to actively support Member States, Data Protection Authorities and businesses to ensure the rules are applied effectively.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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