The EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) took effect on May 25th, 2018, after a lengthy delay. Numerous businesses have either not updated or will not alter their privacy policies to comply. To avoid the substantial penalties associated with non-compliance, numerous news, gaming, and other websites have simply barred EU visitors. The A & E Network’s websites (including the History Channel), the Los Angeles Times, Unroll.me, the Chicago Tribune, Instapaper, and the Baltimore Sun are among them. If you attempt to visit these sites from inside the EU, you may see an error message such as the following:
“This content is not available in your area” or “We have detected that you are attempting to access this website from a country within the European Economic Area (EEA), including the EU, which is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and as a result, we are unable to grant you access at the moment.”
Fortunately, there is a means to continue visiting sites that have been restricted by the GDPR in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and others in Europe. All you need to do is establish a virtual private network connection (VPN). This will encrypt all of your traffic and route it via a chosen intermediate server. It will hide your true IP address and make you seem to be of your choosing. For instance, connecting through a UK server will make it look as if you are in the United Kingdom. Apart from having access to geo-restricted content, a VPN will conceal all your online activity from your ISP, network administrator, or anybody else who may be watching.
Best VPN for accessing GDPR-banned websites
Naturally, not all VPN service providers provide a similar level of service. They are distinguished by their simplicity of use, security, connection speed, and customer service, among other characteristics. We’ve suggested the top VPN for GDPR-blocked websites using the following criteria:
- Has a significant number of servers based outside Europe.
- Allows access to geographically restricted content.
- Provides quick and dependable connections.
- Encryption is powerful, and extra security protections are included.
- No records of personally identifiable information are kept.
- Provides responsive and competent client service.
NordVPN is an excellent choice for almost all use cases, but notably for unblocking websites that have been prohibited by the GDPR. With a massive network of over 5,000 servers, you’re spoiled for choice both inside and beyond the EU. Numerous of these are specialized for streaming, while others are appropriate for dual VPN and Tor over VPN configurations. NordVPN is excellent at unblocking restricted websites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
Regarding digital security, this VPN company has got your back. With 256-bit AES encryption, perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak prevention, and a kill button, you can be certain that no data will be leaked from the encrypted tunnel. Automatic WiFi protection is a welcome addition if you connect often while on the road. This service does not save any traffic or connection records.
NordVPN supports multiple concurrent connections and offers programs for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. Certain routers allow for manual configuration.
Is it possible to use a free VPN to access GDPR-blocked websites?
Although there are some free VPNs available, we do not suggest them in general. According to studies, free VPNs often have inadequate security, including software vulnerabilities, significant data breaches, and intrusive privacy practices that enable companies to capture user data. They have even been accused of fabricating information regarding the encryption they offer and of including malware in their applications.
Free VPNs gather user data for profiling and marketing. They earn money by selling data to other parties, such as data brokers. This puts your online health at risk when you use free VPNs, which is problematic since a VPN is intended to be a privacy tool you can trust to help you enhance your digital footprint and safeguard your data.
Apart from privacy and security dangers, websites often ban IP addresses connected to free VPNs. This often results in such free services being unable to unblock websites that have been banned because of GDPR compliance. As a result, even if you take a chance and use a free VPN, there is no assurance that the service will circumvent the limitations.
GDPR implications for users
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) are a set of regulations designed to accomplish the following objectives:
- Harmonize data privacy laws across Europe.
- Protect the data privacy of EU citizens.
- Change the approach organizations take to data privacy.
Several of the rules’ ramifications include the following:
- Breach notifications must be made within a certain time frame (72 hours).
- Consent for data collection and storage must be given knowingly and may be withdrawn at any time.
- They have the right to request in a machine-readable manner any data that a business has gathered about them.
- Larger businesses (those with more than 250 workers) are required to hire a data protection officer.
The maximum penalty for violating the rules is 20 million euros or 4% of the company’s annual revenue, whichever is greater.
One of the most critical issues that many businesses must handle is informed consent. The approaches that businesses have historically used to convince customers to consent to data gathering are heavily skewed in favor of the business and do nothing to safeguard consumers’ privacy rights.
For instance, businesses often publish long, jargon-filled privacy rules that few people read. These rules provide information on the collection, use, and storage of user data. Customers often agree to these conditions by checking a box, which they frequently do without reading the underlying rules.
A component of the GDPR requires businesses to be more honest with customers about the terms of their agreements.
Why are websites refusing to accept visitors from the European Union?
The laws do not apply only to corporations with their headquarters in the European Union. This applies to all businesses that do business with EU nationals. Indeed, Facebook and Google already face multibillion-dollar GDPR-related litigation.
The new requirements were introduced almost two years ago, and many businesses have taken advantage of this time to develop a compliance plan. Certain businesses were very proactive, updating regulations and notifying users well in advance of the deadline. Some have gone so far as to provide plain text alternatives to individuals who choose to opt-out. One such example is public radio station National Public Radio (NPR).
Other businesses did not make the cut. The causes are not entirely evident and may vary per firm. Some just lack the resources necessary to effect these changes. Some want to become compliant but need further time.
For instance, Tribune Media Group properties such as the Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Orlando Sentinel, Baltimore Sun, and Chicago Tribune provide a succinct explanation:
“Unfortunately, our website is not accessible to the majority of European nations at the moment. We are dedicated to pursuing solutions that enable our complete suite of digital products in the EU market. We are continuing to seek technological compliance solutions that will ensure that our award-winning news is available to all readers.”
Whereas attempting to reach A & E or the History Channel results in the following generic message:
“Unfortunately, this content is not available in your region.”
Certain sites that lack the resources required to follow the requirements have been forced to close entirely. Among them are well-known gaming sites such as Super Monday Night Combat and Tunngle.
Unblocking GDPR-restricted websites
Websites that restrict access to EU citizens in accordance with the new GDPR are doing so to prevent non-compliance. Essentially, they have not changed their rules and processes yet (or have chosen not to) and are averse to risking a consequence.
By masking your IP address using a non-EU VPN server, you will seem to be outside the EU and hence pose no danger to the firm. The following are straightforward instructions for accessing a website that has been restricted by GDPR:
- Subscribe to the VPN mentioned above.
- On your device, download, install, and launch the VPN application.
- Connect to a server located outside the European Union.
- Navigate to the specified website.
Bear in mind that since you are obfuscating your actual location from the site, the rules do not apply and you cannot expect to benefit from the privacy protections they provide.
Sites that are refusing to accept users from the EU as a result of the GDPR
The following is a list of websites that we are aware of that are now restricting EU visitors in light of the new GDPR:
- Arizona Daily Star
- Baltimore Sun
- Chicago Tribune
- LA Times
- New York Daily News
- Orlando Sentinel
This list is not comprehensive and may increase or contract over time.
FAQs on the best VPN for GDPR
Is it against the law to access prohibited websites?
No, accessing prohibited websites is not normally considered a criminal act. In certain instances, accessing a restricted website or service from a particular area may violate the terms and conditions of the site. This may result in the closure of the account or the cancellation of the subscription. Even still, this is quite improbable. Although VPNs are legal in virtually every jurisdiction, this does not guarantee they can be used securely for unlawful activities such as torrenting copyrighted content.
Will a VPN assist in preventing websites from showing the following error message: “this website is not intended for users located in the European economic area”?
Yes, a VPN will enable you to circumvent all limitations, whether they are imposed by geoblocking or even government censorship. All that is required in this scenario is a connection to a server located outside the “European Economic Area.” Because of this action, you will be allocated a new, temporary IP address. Simultaneously, your true IP address and location will be concealed, enabling you to fake your location and access prohibited websites or services.
What should I do if a website detects and bans my VPN connection?
Do not be alarmed if a website detects your VPN usage and bans you as a consequence. There are many possible solutions. The first step is to remove the cache and cookies from your browser before reloading it. This is to ensure that the website in question disregards your real IP address and location in favor of the VPN’s. If this does not work, you should attempt to connect to another server in case your current IP address is blocked.