Netflix has been accused of starting to block services that help customers bypass regional locks.
TorGuard, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and proxy service, has reported a surge in complaints from its customers trying to access Netflix over the last month.
It’s thought that Netflix is preparing to proactively lock out customers who use services like HideMyAss, Cyberghost and Hola to access content not licenced for their region.
Speaking to file sharing news site TorrentFreak, TorGuard’s Ben Van der Pelt said: “A few weeks ago we received the first report from a handful of clients that Netflix blocked access due to VPN or proxy usage. This is the very first time I’ve ever heard Netflix displaying this type of error message to a VPN user.”
The restrictions appeared to be only temporary, with users able to regain access by logging in from a new virtual location.
How to get US Netflix in the UK“I have a sneaking suspicion that Netflix may be testing these new IP blocking methods temporarily in certain markets,” Van der Pelt added. “At this time the blocks do not seem aggressive and may only be targeted at IP ranges that exceed too many simultaneous logins.”
Netflix’s terms of service state: “You may view a movie or TV show through the Netflix service primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such movie or TV show. The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location. Netflix will use technologies to verify your geographic location.”
The idea is that you’ll be able to watch Netflix on holiday (depending where you’re travelling) but Sony Pictures, one of Netflix’s content partners, has made it clear that it wants VPN-using punters kicked out of the party.
VPNs can be used for a number of purposes, such as letting employees connect securely to work services. They can also be used to mask a user’s true location.
While in certain repressive countries this can be used to get around government mandated censors, here in the free state of the United Kingdom it can be used to gain access to Netflix’s bigger hoard of US-only content.
Netflix has yet to state if it’s implementing any new changes. At the time of writing it appears that Netflix has not yet started restricting Hola customers from accessing US content from the UK.