Opposition spokesman urges focus on new rules that take effect today

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The Chicago Tribune and LA Times were among those saying they were now unavailable in most European countries. European Union regulators have new powers to go after companies that get too grabby or that don't tell you clearly what they're doing with your data. While we'd like to get some more modern protections of our own here inside the USA, it'll be interesting to see, in the near future, how online businesses change their ways in reaction to GDPR.

There are six legal bases for using personal data, including getting express consent from consumers.

"These authorities will forward them to the Irish Data Protection Commission, as provided for in the GDPR, if appropriate", said the spokesman.

Facebook, Google, Instagram and WhatsApp are accused of forcing users to consent to targeted advertising to use the services. "It might seem like a smart move, but in some cases, it's more work", said Larry Ponemon, founder of the privacy research firm Ponemon Institute.

If the complaints are upheld, the websites may be forced to change how they operate and they could be fined.

Among those that have failed to meet the deadline are USA news sites published by the Tronc and Lee Enterprises media publishing groups. More widely accessed USA media outlets - including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun - similarly blocked some of their European users starting Friday.

They said their websites won't be available in European countries due to compliance issues.

"We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the European Union market", said the error message displayed in response to attempts to access the LA Times website in London and Brussels.

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Lee Enterprises meanwhile publishes 46 daily newspapers across 21 states.

Its statement read: "We're sorry".

"We're sorry. This site is temporarily unavailable".

CNN and the New York Times were among those not affected.

But, in truth, Schrems has been prophetic about what has come to pass, especially if you look at the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal. The maximum fine for a GDPR violation is €20 million, or four per cent of a company's annual global revenue from the year before, whichever is higher. And they should use their new rights. Forced consent is a "take it or leave it approach" where a company requires that users opt into data terms it sets or blocks them from accessing their service entirely.

Companies are now also required to employ a data protection officer, a staff expert who can investigate any customer's claim of data misuse or abuse.

The arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has resulted in some website outages in Europe, as certain well known USA news channels have been blocked. For example, new privacy notices from Spotify and eBay say you can request to delete personal data they've stored. Because companies that monetize the data of people should give something back to their customers.

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