Why can’t people in the UK access the website of the Arizona Daily Star?

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Recently, someone gave me a link to a website www.tucson.com. It’s a newspaper. Wikipedia calls it “the major morning daily newspaper that serves Tucson and surrounding districts of southern Arizona in the United States.” Hardly a terrorist organization; so why should any reasonable government want to block people going to their website?


Yet when I follow that link, I get a message that says:


451: Unavailable due to legal reasons

We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact jspitz@tucson.com or call 800-695-4492.


Now I’m no admirer of the United Nations, but Article 19 of the Declaration of Human Rights says: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”


A couple of questions from this (maybe) naïve observer:

  • Is this not a clear breach of my (and their) human rights under Article 19?
  • Why have EU directives and regulations like this not been rejected, or at the very least suspended, by the UK government since the Brexit vote?


Mustafa Kemal Added Aug 30, 2018 - 4:40pm
Neil, fascinating. Thanks for letting us know.
It does appear to be a breach of article 19, but as for the second, 
Brexit voted on,  is very different from Brexit done, as we have observed.
The real question would be why? Are they blocking all US websites?
Why Tucson?
Dino Manalis Added Aug 30, 2018 - 4:51pm
 Wow, that's interesting!
Neil Lock Added Aug 30, 2018 - 5:02pm
Hi Mustafa,
As far as I can work it out, it is sites owned by companies (like the one that owns the Tucson newspaper) which don't comply with the EU data protection rules, that are blocking visitors from the EU. Probably as a defence against possible fines.
You might find this link interesting:
You might also wonder why a "law" made by the EU should have any relevance for Americans or for anyone else?
Flying Junior Added Aug 30, 2018 - 5:10pm
Basically the U.S. sites all collect cookies of information.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 30, 2018 - 5:11pm
Yes, please....no legal export from the EU. We enough damned laws of our own. 
Damn Belgians! Proof that the French fornicated with toadstools!
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 30, 2018 - 5:11pm
Not surprising at all, but interesting to learn. Expect we'll be seeing more of this sort of thing.
Neil Lock Added Aug 30, 2018 - 5:23pm
Flying Junior: As I understand it, it's a bit more complicated than just cookies. The EU directive is about information held on us in databases - names, addresses, e-mails and so on. It seeks to "protect" this information from those who would "mis-use" it - for example, sell it to third parties like advertisers.
The Burghal Hidage Added Aug 30, 2018 - 5:40pm
About that whole Brexit bit.....how on earth is that old sow still hanging on at 10 Downing! 
James Travil Added Aug 30, 2018 - 7:24pm
Maybe you should try the phone number or email address and ask for particulars? 
Leroy Added Aug 30, 2018 - 7:37pm
It's nothing that a good ole VPN can't solved.  I tested it.  If I use a European server, I get the message.  If I use an American server, I don't.  
Stephen Hunter Added Aug 30, 2018 - 7:53pm
Very interesting Neil, thanks for pointing this out. Nothing logical about this instance, however the fact that someone is deciding what sites can and cannot be viewed is disturbing. Who is the someone? 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Aug 30, 2018 - 7:55pm
That link works from Thailand. 
Cullen Kehoe Added Aug 30, 2018 - 8:36pm
It works from New Zealand as well. 
James Travil Added Aug 30, 2018 - 9:47pm
It's like I've been saying, the EU is just about as much a full fledged Orwellian police state as possible. 
Neil Lock Added Aug 31, 2018 - 3:31am
Stephen: Who is the someone?
A very good question. In the first instance, it's the newspaper themselves making the decision. But that begs the question, what have they been threatened with that would cause them to give up their right to "impart information" - which, after all, is their business - to people from certain parts of the world? And by whom? Are the Feds and/or state governments complicit in this violation of rights?
I did think, a bit cynically maybe, that they chose the error number (451) as a reference to Fahrenheit 451...
Neil Lock Added Aug 31, 2018 - 3:33am
James: A friend on another blog has e-mailed the newspaper. Nothing received yet as far as I know.
As to the EU as police state, the one thing it lacks in that regard is that it doesn't have an army. But they're working on that.
Stone-Eater Added Aug 31, 2018 - 3:37am
Works perfectly from Switzerland. Well, what did I say about being member of the EU LOL
Stone-Eater Added Aug 31, 2018 - 3:40am
I did think, a bit cynically maybe, that they chose the error number (451) as a reference to Fahrenheit 451...
Oh...right ! :-)
Neil Lock Added Aug 31, 2018 - 3:41am
Leroy: Yes, of course there are technological ways around this specific problem. But not everyone will know about such things.
In fact, I'd guess that the kind of people who wouldn't have any idea of how to bypass such a block are exactly the kind of people who are likely to get most incensed about it. That's a reason why I brought the issue up on this wonderful, international forum called WriterBeat :-)
Stone-Eater Added Aug 31, 2018 - 3:51am
Using a proxy from outside of the US/EU fixes that thing. Sometimes I'm forced to use them too when some sysop on an internet provider has decided to alter the HOSTS file...for example when I was in Belgium at a friend's and have gotten endless 401's and 404's....
Neil Lock Added Aug 31, 2018 - 3:55am
Stone-Eater: Works perfectly from Switzerland. Now that's interesting. The error window talks about the block being against users from countries in the EEA (European Economic Area). I thought Switzerland was in the EEA, but not in the EU?
Stone-Eater Added Aug 31, 2018 - 4:04am
We don't like to be ruled by foreigners, if possible LOL
Stone-Eater Added Aug 31, 2018 - 4:06am
Benjamin Goldstein Added Aug 31, 2018 - 6:40am
Neil, as an avid reader of my posts you know that I have mentioned this already before. The LA Times is also blocked. There are a number of newspapers. I also noticed that Soundcloud does not show everything anymore.
You know, all for the protection of your personal information. Unless you are critical of Angela Merkel. Then your face, name, employer and details of your professional occupation are publicized by the interior minister and the mainstream media.
Ken Added Aug 31, 2018 - 12:32pm
I would bet it is the new EU rules  about "hate speech" and "Fake news reporting" both of which are incredibly subjective, and while Facebook can afford fines and fixing things for Europe, some local site in Tucson just doesn't want to be bothered with dealing with it.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Aug 31, 2018 - 1:54pm
Ken: Yes, it is all about legal costs. You can basically sue everybody about everything now. In principle that is also true for the US because you also have way too many laws. However, you have the rule of law, i.e. like cases are treated alike. In the EU this is not the case. US tech companies are constantly sued and fined by the EU with anti-trust cases. The EU never files anti-trust cases against Russian pipelines. And while LA times, Tucson and others are leftwing, it is still too much leeway for some because they might not check their comment sections. Breitbart, Drudge and others are available because they are prepared to fight the legal battles.
Neil Lock Added Aug 31, 2018 - 5:46pm

My friend from the other blog has his response. Here is his bit and the (non) answer:
JohnAllman.UK commented on Why can’t people in the UK access the website of the Arizona Daily Star?

Here is the correspondence. I’m afraid I don’t understand what it is anybody is worried about. The EU isn’t a jurisdiction. It is a treaty between nation states, each of which is itself a jurisdiction. None of the nation states contracted into the EU has any jurisdiction in Tucson, Arizona.

Subject: Re: Please could you explain the “legal reasons” why I am seeing this?
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2018 05:37:08 +0000
From: Jorden Spitz, Jill JSpitz@tucson.com
To: John Allman
He. Allman,
You’re getting that message because the company that controls our content management systems put GDPR blocks in place and getting them removed has proven to be very difficult.
Here’s a story that has more information:
Thanks for writing, and sorry for the inconvenience.
Jill Jorden Spitz
4850 S Park Ave | Tucson | AZ | 85714
o 520-573-4177 | f 520-573-4107

Eric Reports Added Aug 31, 2018 - 7:55pm
"Hate speech" content may be blocked by the use of certain words or subject matter.  YouTube has begun to use it.  Facebook, also.
John Allman Added Aug 31, 2018 - 8:49pm
I am researching this.  My next step is to write to the said "company", that manages content for the Tucson newspaper.  I will publish what I learn on http://JohnAllman.UK.  Please follow this blog, to get an email alert when I do this.
Neil Lock Added Sep 1, 2018 - 3:26am
John Allman: Thank you. Look forward to what you find out.
Mark Hunter Added Sep 1, 2018 - 4:02am
When this whole thing first came about I was besieged by warnings that I needed to update everything, warn my readers and book customers, and generally go full-on paranoia. (Wrong term--it's not paranoia if it's a real thing, but you get the idea.) Since I haven't, I suppose I'm blocked, too ... maybe I should check with all three of the people in Europe who've ever bought one of my books.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 1, 2018 - 8:57pm
Neil, I just heard about it on the radio in the context of protection of our private information.  Of course, my kneejerk Orwellian reaction is that it is anything but. and I really dont want these people "protecting" ne. It is clearly big.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 2, 2018 - 6:31am
Who needs Facebook today ? Noone. Youtube, well, if not for independent news channels, it's also useless. That whole entertainment industry, be it on the net or not, has become childish and superficial. What should be blocked are downdumbing TV series, stupid action stuff following (or foregoing) PC games and soap operas.
These things are more damaging for brains than any showing of boobs or criticizing religion and criminal governments.
Fortunately Europe still has good philosophical and political talk rounds, documentaries and - yes - movies with a message to tell. But unfortunately every 2nd movie making the charts comes out of US studios. Apparently today's average IQ isn't sufficient anymore to understand stuff which is more sophisticated than "action hero" bullshit.