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GDPR: Europeans still can’t access major news websites

When the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May, chaos ensued. Despite having months to prepare for something everyone know was coming, many websites waited until the last minute - then panicked.

It is somewhat ironic that US news outlets in particular, seem to have been particularly unprepared for the GDPR deadline. Indeed, it's been a month since GDPR came into force and many US news websites continue to block European visitors.

Most of these belong to the Tronc Inc. or Lee Enterprises media publishing groups. Tronc is the third largest third-largest newspaper publisher in the United States; its flagship publications include the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, and the Baltimore Sun.  Lee Enterprises publishes 46 daily newspapers in 21 states.

Tronc GDPR

This notice can be seen by EU visitors to all Tronc websites

All websites associated with any publication by these two groups continue to block EU visitors. In addition to this, the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune still block Europeans from accessing their websites. The LA Times is the fourth largest newspaper in the US.

Lee Enterprises Gdpr

A similar notice greets EU visitors to all websites owned by Lee Enterprises

Both these newspapers did belong to Tronc, but were sold to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong earlier this month (after GDPR came into effect).

What is GDPR?

The GDPR is EU legislation that came into force on 25 May 2018. It introduces strict new rules about what information companies can collect and store about their customers. The rules only apply to data belonging to those within the EU, but organizations based outside the EU must still comply if they hold data on EU residents.

Key elements of GDPR are that they much obtain express content from customers about for all information they collect, and for how it can be shared. Even before this, however, they need to demonstrate why they need personal information at all.

Many companies have revised their terms of service (ToS) and privacy policies for all customers on the basis that having different rules for different customers based on where they live is a logistical nightmare.

US News websites that block Europeans thanks to GDPR

Subsidiary websites are also blocked.

Tronc Inc.

  • Chicago Tribune
  • The Capital
  • Baltimore Sun
  • Sun-Sentinel
  • Orlando Sentinel
  • The Virginia-Pilot
  • The Hartford Courant
  • The Morning Call
  • Daily Press
  • New York Daily News
  • RedEye


  • Los Angeles Times
  • Diego Union-Tribune

Lee Enterprises

  • Arizona Daily Sun (Arizona)
  • Arizona Daily Star (Arizona)
  • The Sentinel (California)
  • The Lompoc Record (California)
  • Napa Valley Register (California)
  • Magic Valley: South Idaho Press &Times-News (Idaho)
  • The Pantagraph (Illinois)
  • The Southern Illinoisan (Illinois)
  • Herald & Review (Illinois)
  • Daily Journal (Illinois)
  • The Times ( Indiana)
  • Quad-City Times (Iowa)
  • Globe Gazette (Iowa)
  • Muscatine Journal (Iowa)
  • Sioux City Journal (Iowa)
  • Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Iowa)
  • Winona Daily News (Minnesota)
  • Daily Journal (Missouri)
  • Louis Post Dispatch (Missouri)
  • Suburban Journals (Missouri)
  • Billings Gazette (Montana)
  • Montana Standard (Montana)
  • Independent Record (Montana)
  • Missoulian (Montana)
  • Missoula Independent (Montana)
  • Columbus Telegram (Nebraska)
  • Fremont Tribune (Nebraska)
  • Lincoln Journal Star (Nebraska)
  • The Citizen (New York)
  • The Post-Star (New York)
  • The Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota)
  • Democrat-Herald (Oregon)
  • Bandon Western World (Oregon)
  • The World (Oregon)
  • Corvallis Gazette-Times (Oregon)
  • Lebanon Express (Oregon)
  • Umpqua Post (Oregon)
  • The Sentinel (Pennsylvania)
  • The Times and Democrat (South Carolina)
  • Rapid City Journal (South Dakota)
  • The Daily News (Washington)
  • Baraboo News Republic (Wisconsin)
  • La Crosse Tribune (Wisconsin)
  • The Capital Times (Wisconsin)
  • Wisconsin State Journal (Wisconsin)
  • Portage Daily Register (Wisconsin)
  • Racine Journal Times (Wisconsin)
  • Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming)

So how can I access these websites from the EU?

In time, Tronc and Lee Enterprises will probably make the policy and internal systems changes necessary to become GDPR-compliant.

Until then, you can use a VPN to bypass blocks on European IP addresses. Just connect to a VPN server outside EU jurisdiction. If you are not sure what VPNs are and how the work, please read our VPN Beginners Guide.

Image credit: By mixmagic/Shutterstock.

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.


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