Categories: CloudNetworks

Netflix ‘Blocking’ VPNs, Proxies And Other Location Hiding Technology

Netflix is reportedly starting to block subscribers who access the streaming site through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), proxies and other services that can bypass geographical restrictions placed on the service.

The company operates in a number of different countries, but the library of content available to users depends on each market.

This means many subscribers use location-changing technology to access programmes and films available in one country but not another, while others use such methods to access Netflix in a nation where it is not available.

Netflix VPN block

However, movie studios and production companies are now apparently lobbying Netflix to block such efforts as it is affecting other licensing agreements. According to TorrentFreak, Netflix’s recent partnership with Sony Pictures stipulates that the streaming site is required to take such measures.

The site reports that Android users are now forced to use Google DNS which makes it more difficult to use DNS-based methods, while some VPN IP ranges have also been blocked. Netflix has also been comparing the time zone of a user’s web browser with their IP address and is also using GPS functionality in mobile devices to get an accurate location.

TorGuard says its VPN users have reported problems since mid-November accessing Netflix but have been able to solve the issue by switching to another US-based location. Netflix’s actions have been limited in scope leading to suggestions it is simply testing blocking technology ahead of a wider rollout.

Netflix had not responded to TechWeekEurope’s requests for comment at the time of publication.

Earlier this year, the BBC said users of VPNs and proxies who download vast quantities of data are most likely pirates. It told an Australian government consultation that ISPs should monitor such activity to protect copyright.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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