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American websites are still panicking over GDPR


American websites are still panicking over GDPR

Since the official enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, you will no doubt have observed that you are being asked to consent to cookies and privacy policies more or less every time you visit a website. This in itself is a little wearisome, but if you tend to visit websites from the other side of the Atlantic, you may have noticed that some sites feel they need to do even more to cover themselves.

We are now more than three months into the official implementation of GDPR, yet a number of US websites remain inaccessible within Europe. These include:

Patch.com (a website specialising in local news)
The Chicago Tribune (and indeed all sites in the Tronc, Inc. portfolio, including the New York Daily News and the Hartford Courant)
The Times of Northwest Indiana (and all sites in the Lee Enterprises portfolio)
– News9.com

With Tronc and Lee Enterprises being America’s third and fourth largest newspaper groups respectively, and Patch an operator of nearly 1,000 local news websites across the US, these are no two-bit media sources. They are major American news outlets who appear to have got their knickers in a major twist over a piece of legislation that firstly was only really a development of laws that were already in place, and secondly was adopted all the way back in April 2016, giving media company plenty of notice ahead of its enforcement.

Now, let’s not pretend that there isn’t a relatively simple way round this. If you’re desperate to visit one of these blocked websites, you can go to a site like hide.me and change your proxy location to the US, but why should you have to? Can’t these sites just sort themselves out in the same way that European ones have had to? Don’t they care that they’re losing European traffic?

Annoyingly, it seems that they don’t, and Lee Enterprises has even gone as far as to say so. A spokesperson told Nieman Lab that as the company’s sites’ European traffic is “de minimis”, Lee does not intend to comply with GDPR and thinks its EU shutout is in the best interests of its American clients.

There’s no doubt that GDPR is daunting, but it really isn’t worth losing traffic over. If you want to make sure your site is GDPR-compliant, whether you’re in the US or the UK, why not speak to Engage Web?

John Murray

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