Last January, and shortly after to confirm your arrival to all countries of the world (except China and those who have U.S. embargo, clear), Netflix made a declaration of intentions: video on-demand service announced a improved detection of proxies and VPN, intending to cut off access to users who use these systems to bypass the blockade geographical.
At the time did not give many details on the technology used and the efficient that could be, but now, months later, we are already checking it in our own flesh: some services offered by these resources work intermittently or, in some extreme cases, they have stopped working completely. In fact, there have been “homemade” VPN cases detected. But why Netflix has been seriously with this and why now?
Why they are used and why they have now blocked?
The first question is easy to answer: some Netflix users use proxies or VPN (Virtual Private Networks) to bypass the geographic blockade imposed by the service. This made sense before, when some countries could not be accessed to Netflix, but also now: the catalogue is different in each territory and in some places, like the United States, is far superior in quality and variety to the rest.
“It is very difficult to detect the users of VPN”, Reed Hastings (Netflix CEO) said in a press conference last week. But now why you blocked, and not before? “Well, also we blocking them before. It’s just that now we have resorted to an outside company that has new techniques”, explained Hastings”.
From Netflix they assure that they also before blocking VPN, although now they are more effective because they have changed their system
“The information saying that we have changed our policy with the VPN are false. People using VPN to access our service from outside an area will find that still work exactly as he had always done”. (Neil Hunt, Netflix Chief Product Officer, January 2015)
It seems logical to think that the fact of that service is now global It can be one of the causes of this change in philosophy by Netflix. Before, with the VPN, the platform had customers even in countries where no offered their service (which, moreover, were potential clients when they officially). Although always (or almost always, with what he said Neil Hunt reference) were publicly against the VPN, doors for inside they saw clearly that not they undermined them, since it was people who also paid for their service. Better that nothing.
Now something similar happens: what does it matter that I, from Spain, between Netflix EEUU with a proxy if Netflix I pay you also? Here is where surely (note that all this are my own speculation in the absence of response from Netflix) to enter the owners of rights. Have content providers forced to implement a more aggressive policy against the VPN instead negotiate with them global licensing? “No, the content providers have always been against the VPN”, we replied Reed Hastings.
On his blog, official, and just when he announced the improvement in the detection of these tools, the company claimed that this is a price to pay for being a global service. Yes, they advocate a global marketplace where everyone can see the same content from any country but, while still the market does not reach that model, say they will continue to “respecting and making meet the license of content by geographical location”. The same Hastings explained in a separate interview in March:
“We have the obligation to respect the rights of the contents that we buy. It is a matter of Justice. “Others have paid for rights in Germany, then we must respect it, as we would expect the same from them” (Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix)
VPN services, problems
There are people who use their own VPN to surf for security reasons, but there are also companies which directly advertised their services of proxies as a method to bypass the geobloqueo of Netflix, Hulu and other entertainment platforms. Since it was established the new lock, these companies are being with serious problems to be able to continue to offer unlimited access to Netflix. Just need to take a look at the Netflix subreddit messages by Proxy for the “mess” that have led to these blockades. Now this works, now, now, now not…
Netflix It has not made too many details on which technology they use now to detect and block VPN, unless it is something developed by third parties that use other companies. Hastings said in March that it was “recognize IP addresses”, but they are possibly using lists more spacious, lists that are updated every little bit and some additional method. In addition to blocking the classic services that many people use, from Engadget we have checked that also occurs with some VPN installed on servers from popular companies offering web hosting, personal.
They not only block access through VPN and business-proxies, but also of other “home-made” installed on hosting services
In addition, it seems that we speak not only of blocking users, but also to any company in particular. Unblock Us, one of the most popular solutions, not only had disappeared a few weeks ago the name of your web site Netflix (until then used it as a claim), but that announced that they were forced to stop using Paypal as payment method.
Unblock Us in December 2015. Now no longer they make direct reference to Netflix on your website
The reason? PayPal, without referring specifically to them by name, said that they do not allow “the use of its service for transactions that infringe the copyright or other proprietary rights”, including, according to them, “intentionally allow access to series or films in places where the distribution of content is not authorized by the owners of the rights”.
Either well under pressure from third parties or by Netflix’s own measures, there are many companies that are suffering problems in addition to Unblock Us: The Next Web mentioned Private Internet Access, ExpressVPN and Mullvad, but you can see many more complaints from Reddit. And seem to have lock for a while, with Netflix insisting that it will not turn back: We live in a world of global services but regional content licenses, and this is its direct consequence.
Numerous services are the proxies and VPN which no longer work or work intermittently, but Netflix says that only a minority uses them
In addition, now more than ever, Netflix has very little to lose: their service works in all countries and people using VPN to access it no longer needs it. And the people who resorted to them by catalog and which is now frustrating to not be able to access? Here Reed Hastings remained important yesterday, during the presentation of their quarterly results, to the effect that could have locks on the number of subscribers: “It’s a small but pretty expressive minority”.