Not all companies have been able to comply with GDPR as of yet; in some cases this has been due to the cost of compliance, and in other cases because these companies simply haven’t figured out how to maintain business models that rely on data sharing. During the long run-up to the GDPR compliance deadline, some companies have chosen to simply opt out of European marketplaces until they can meet the requirements in a cost-effective way. This means closing down access to their sites and services in the European Union.
This may seem like a minor issue for services that provide games or retail products…but what about news media? Several media outlets in the United States, including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Daily News (all of which are owned by the same corporation: the Tronc media company) have closed off access to European readers. Their business models, which provide free access in exchange for the use of tracking software that helps them target ads, aren’t compliant with the GDPR. Their solution involves cutting European users from their consumer audience.
Unlike most other compliant news providers, who now post clear disclosures or no longer collect data from European users, these companies—and some TV broadcasters—have dropped them altogether. Could this impact on the flow of media and information between continents? Could the change have broader implications for cultural and diplomatic relations between the US and Europe? Will US citizens abroad respond in a way that impacts the bottom line for these companies?
We aren’t sure yet. The GDPR and its compliance requirements have been widely anticipated for almost two years, but questions remain as to why these companies haven’t found ways to adapt.