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Major US news websites are going down in Europe as GDPR goes into effect

Major US news websites are going down in Europe as GDPR goes into effect

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The European Union’s new GDPR privacy rules came into effect today, but it seems that some organizations didn’t meet the deadline to comply with the changes. A handful of websites, including those of major news providers, went down in the EU, and they posted notes to readers about the new regulations.

Most notably, Tronc, the publishing company that owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, and other newspapers, has shut down its entire roster of websites for European users. When a visitor navigates to one of those sites, they’re now met with a note explaining that “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,” the note reads. “We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism.”

Most other major news websites appeared unaffected by the policy change, although USA Today and NPR inserted announcements for European users. In NPR’s case, users must agree to tracking or visit a plain text version of the website.

USA Today now directs users to an “EU Experience,” a site that collects less personal information on visitors.

The problems haven’t been isolated to news sites. A&E-owned is redirecting users to a page that says “this content is not available in your area,” while some services, including the popular Instapaper, announced that they would temporarily shut off service for EU users.

The shutdowns are a stark demonstration of how unprepared many were for the change in privacy law. As the deadline approached, internet users’ email inboxes have been slammed with updated privacy policies, showing how wary many companies are of incurring fines. Under GDPR, regulators can fine companies up to 4 percent of their revenue. While it’s unclear how vigorously regulators will enforce the rules, the shutdowns show that many would rather go dark than take the risk.