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How to avoid GDPR geo-blocking

May 29, 2018 · 3 min read

How to avoid GDPR geo-blocking

Companies around the world have been scrambling to comply with the EU’s new sweeping GDPR privacy law, but in the event of such sudden and comprehensive reform, some chaos is inevitable. Some users have found themselves geo-blocked from non-compliant websites, while others have been wondering whether the EU’s protections will apply to their accounts if they aren’t EU citizens. The answers to these questions will become clear in the coming weeks and months, but until then, there’s one simple tool you can use to navigate the post-GDPR internet.

How to access geo-blocked news sites

In the aftermath of the GDPR’s implementation on May 25th, a few major news sites have blocked access to EU visitors – presumably in an effort to shield themselves from culpability until they’ve ensured their own GDPR compliance. Globally-minded news readers in the EU feel left out in the cold, but there’s a way to avoid this nuisance until everything is sorted out and the sites are unblocked.

NordVPN can be used to browse from an IP address in the US – no matter where you are. This will make it impossible for news sites to identify your true country of origin and allow you to browse them as if you were a US reader. Changing your location is simple – simply log in to your chosen NordVPN app and select the US as your connection country.

We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so getting NordVPN now to unblock US news content is risk-free!

Why are US sites geo-blocking the EU?

The GDPR can potentially target non-compliant companies with stiff fines if they don’t follow the regulation. Each website can have a different reason for not complying, and that may determine whether or not you want to continue using their service.

Hopefully, most sites currently geo-blocking EU users are doing so simply because they didn’t have enough time to ensure that they are fully GDPR-compliant. In this case, we can hope to see them unblock themselves as soon as they manage to implement all of the different guarantees of visitor data security that the GDPR demands. How long they might take to sort out their compliance is anybody’s guess.

Some websites may not want to comply because they make money using your data. Data collection is profitable, and the GDPR makes it much harder to do. We can only hope that this is a small minority of websites currently geo-blocking EU users. However, there are plenty of guides out there on how to block EU users to avoid GDPR fines, so it looks like this topic has quite a few business owners interested!

Finally, quite a few websites may not have the resources to fully comply with the GDPR. The GDPR differentiates between sites and businesses of different sizes by applying different requirements, but for a small website, even those lower demands may be difficult to comply with. If your website was barely scraping by, and you now suddenly have to have much of it redone to ensure that you can fully protect your users’ data, you’d much rather block users who could expose you to GDPR liability.

Ultimately, the GDPR’s launch has been a double-edged sword. Plenty of sites have blocked EU visitors, and plenty more may soon follow suit. However, they are only doing so because complying with the GDPR means implementing significant new protections and guarantees for visitors’ security and privacy.

What do you think? Is the GDPR worth the headache? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!


Daniel Markuson
Daniel Markuson successVerified author

Daniel is a digital privacy enthusiast and an Internet security expert. As the blog editor at NordVPN, Daniel loves to serve up generous helpings of news, stories, and tips to help people stay private and secure.


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