Several major U.S. news websites, including the Los Angeles Times, were blocked in Europe on Friday after the E.U.’s new data protection laws came into effect.
The LA Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Baltimore Sun and Orlando Sentinel websites all displayed the same message saying they could not be accessed.
“Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries,” the message read. “We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the E.U. market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.”
The blocked websites are all owned by media company Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing. Local U.S. newspapers owned by Lee Enterprises, including the St. Louis Post Dispatch and Arizona Daily Sun, were also out of reach.
“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,” its website said.
The E.U. says the so-called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will allow citizens to take back control of personal information held online.
Brussels insists that the laws will become a global benchmark for the protection of people’s online information, particularly in the wake of the Facebook data harvesting scandal. But it has also been blamed for a flood of spam emails and messages in recent weeks as firms rush to request the explicit consent of users to contact them.
Even though the rules were officially adopted two years ago, with a grace period until now to adapt to them, companies have been slow to act, resulting in a last-minute scramble this week.