Two major North American media groups have blocked European readers from visiting their websites after new rules implemented by the European Union on data protection came into effect.

Since last night, Europeans attempting to view websites like the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune are met by a message explaining that those from countries belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) are blocked until further notice due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The two publishers blocking access are Tronc, which owns popular newspaper the LA Times and food and drink site The Daily Meal, and Lee Enterprises, which owns regional newspapers like the Arizona Daily Star and The Sentinel, across the United States.

These messages suggest that this is a temporary issue that will eventually be resolved. Tronc-owned sites state that the publisher will “continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism”.

GDPR states that companies working in the European Union must get consent from a user to collect their data before doing so. Those that fail to do so face fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover.

However, not all companies have taken notice of GDPR. According to Spiceworks, just 13% of US-based companies said that they would be fully compliant before today’s deadline, compared to 50% in the UK and 34% in the EU.

Just 19% of US-based IT professionals are informed about the impact that GDPR could have on businesses, compared to 72% and 70% in the UK and EU respectively. This could offer some explanation as to why some US companies have been slow to update their terms and conditions.

What sites are blocked?

Between them, Tronc and Lee Enterprises own 119 properties, including newspapers, magazines and websites. A total of 72 websites display “blocked due to GDPR” messages, while 43 other microsites, located on these blocked domains, are also inaccessible.

Of the 119 websites that we checked, just two were accessible from a European IP address. Those were the websites for the Chicago Magazine and Naperville Magazine. It is unclear whether it is intentional or these websites have been missed. Accessing the privacy policy redirects users to the same privacy policy on the Tronc website as other websites owned by the company.

Domains that are currently inaccessible are:

Tronc

La Times
Chicago Tribune
Elgin Courier-news
San Diego Union-Tribune
Capital Gazette
The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore City Paper
Carroll County Times
Sun-Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Hartford Courant
The Morning Call
Daily Press
Virginia Gazette
New York Daily News
City and Shore
The Daily Meal
The Active Times

Lee Enterprises

Arizona Daily Sun
Arizona Daily Star
The Sentinel,  Hanford
The Lompoc Record
Napa Valley Register
Santa Maria Times
South Idaho Press
The Pantagraph
The Southern Illinoisan
Herald & Review
The Dispatch/ The Rock Island Argus
Daily Journal
Journal Gazette & Times-Courier
The Times of Northwest Indiana
Quad-City Times
Globe Gazette
Muscatine Journal
Sioux City Journal
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
Winona Daily News
Daily Journal, Missouri
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Billings Gazette
The Montana Standard
Ravalli Republic
Independent Record
Missoulian
Missoula Independent
Beatrice Daily Sun
Columbus Telegram
Fremont Tribune
Lincoln Journal Star
Elko Daily Free Press
The Citizen, Auburn
The Post-Star
The Bismarck Tribune
Albany Democrat-Herald
The World, Coos Bay
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Lebanon Express
The Umpqua Post
The Sentinel, Pennsylvania
The Times and Democrat
Rapid City Journal
The Daily news
Capital Newspapers
Wiscnews
The Chippewa Herald
La Crosse Tribune
Madison Newspapers
Racine Journal Times
Casper Star-Tribune

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Other websites and services blocked

US media company A+E has also blocked users located in the EU from accessing the websites in its network. Websites for channels such as History, Lifetime and FYI all redirect to a A+E page stating “this content is unavailable in your area”. It is unclear whether this is temporary or permanent.

Social media analytics tool Klout shut down today, while online game Ragnarok Online closed down its European servers after more than 15 years.