Claims Netflix experimenting with blocking Australian VPN users

NetflixNetflix appears to be experimenting with ways to block users from accessing its streaming platform using a geo-blocker or a virtual private network (VPN) ahead of its launch in Australia in the first quarter of this year, according to a report from TorrentFreak.

According to reportsVPN provider TorGuard has reported a surge in access problems by its users, starting mid-December, although some of the blocking efforts appear to have been temporary.

TorGuard’s Ben Van der Pelt told TorrentFreak: “I have a sneaking suspicion that Netflix may be testing these new IP blocking methods temporarily in certain markets. At this time the blocks do not seem aggressive and may only be targeted at IP ranges that exceed too many simultaneous logins.”

It is estimated between 200,000 and 340,000 Australians currently access the US site using a VPN. in December Cliff Edwards, Netflix director of corporate communications, told Lifehacker it was “very hard to track someone down” using a VPN, but added: “We say very clearly that VPNs violate the terms of our service, and we believe that people who license content should get paid for it.”

Questions remain on whether House of Cards will show on Netflix Australia

Questions remain on whether House of Cards will show on Netflix Australia

While Netflix is due to launch in Australia by March it has been suggested uncertainty around whether Netflix Original Series including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, as well as a lack of clarity on the pricing of the service, would mean Australians using the US service via VPNs would not be persuaded to switch to the local version.

Netflix is reportedly experimenting with a number of blocking methods including querying the user’s time zone through the web browser or mobile device GPS and comparing it to the timezone of their IP-address and forcing Google’s DNS services in the Android app.

TorGuard told TorrentFreak that it will provide an “easy solution to bypass the blocks” if Netflix continues with its blocking efforts.

Netflix has been approached for comment.



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