Netflix Starts Blocking Users With VPN users, Proxies and Unblockers
After announcing plans to launch in 130 countries around the world, the online video streaming company, Netflix is looking to flex its muscles at users who are trying to fool the streaming service into thinking that they were from another country, and thus get access to shows not yet available in their territory.
In a blog post today, Netflix stated that it will step up enforcement against subscribers who use VPNs, proxies, and unblocking services to mask their locations.
“Some members use proxies or ‘unblockers’ to access titles available outside their territory,” Content Delivery Architecture VP David Fullagar wrote in a post today. “To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.”
This will help Netflix prevent customers from watching video that isn’t licensed for viewing in their country, but it may also affect people who use location-spoofing services for security or privacy reasons.
To enforce this ban, Netflix will be hiring companies specialized in such services, as Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail four days ago: “[We] continue to rely on blacklists of VPN exit points maintained by companies that make it their job.”
He also added that “once [VPN providers] are on the blacklist, it’s trivial for them to move to a new IP address and evade.” Mr. Sarandos is hinting that his company will have to play a cat and mouse game with these VPN providers, one that it won’t have to entertain for more than a few years, as exclusive content delivery deals expire, and it can then go on to purchase and deliver the same movie catalogs to all territories.
The banning comes because many media companies are unhappy with Netflix for the delay in expanding to other countries. Because of the delay, many film and television studios have already licensed their TV shows and movies to other streaming services available in those countries where Netflix wasnt available. Even Netflix sold the rights for “House of Cards,” a show it produced, to other movie streaming services.
Moreover, Sony and other content owners were also unhappy for the fact that Netflix was not doing enough to crack down on users using VPNs, Proxies and Unblockers.