GDPR blocks

More than three months after the European Union introduced the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), nearly 1,200 US-based news sites remain inaccessible to EU users.

This list includes some of the largest news sites in the US, such as the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Dallas News, Baltimore Sun, The Sun Chronicle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Newsday.

However, the vast majority of entries are small-time news sites that provide the bulk of local news reporting.

Three months later, few US sites have removed GDPR blocks

All websites act in the same way, showing an error message to users located in a country that's a member of the European Union. The message cites the introduction of the EU GDPR as the main reason why the site can't serve its content.

The GDPR requires websites to disclose their data collection practices in much more depth than before, and also requires websites to obtain an explicit permission to collect this data from visitors.

Further, the regulation also forces websites to provide a portal where users can see what data the website has collected about them, and provide a way for users to delete this data.

Companies that do not adhere to these policies risk huge fines that can go up to 4% of a company's annual revenue.

But despite the GDPR entering into effect three months ago, on May 26, many US news sites have not updated their portals to cater for EU users, opting to block them altogether.

The reasons are unknown, but many experts believe that small US local news outlets that publish stories relating to their local communities see little gains from investing large amounts of money into becoming GDPR-compatible just for the little EU traffic they receive.

As this situation is unlikely to change, it appears that EU users will remain closed out from a big chunk of the web.

How to avoid GDPR blocks

Users looking for a quick bypass of the GDPR blocks can use this lesser-known trick of adding "cache:" in front of the URL in the address bar, like so:

cache:[original_URL_showing_GDPR_block_message]

This will serve a copy of the original article from Google or Bing's cache, bypassing the GDPR blocks.

Readers can consult the list of US news sites blocked to EU users here. It currently includes 1,182 sites. The list has been compiled by Joseph O'Connor, a UK-based developer. O'Connor has also open-sourced the PHP script he used to put together the list.

Earlier this year, a report by the Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford revealed that the number of tracking cookies on EU news sites has gone down by 22%.

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