Goodbye, loopholes: Netflix is blocking proxy use for international access

Now that the service is near-global, it's cracking down

Last week at CES, Netflix announced that it had added more than 130 countries to its roster, making the service nearly global in access (sorry, China). However, that enhancement might come with a downside for select users.

Anyone who uses a proxy or virtual private network (VPN) to fool Netflix into thinking they're watching from another country probably won't have much luck in the near future, as the company announced plans to block such tools. It's a bid to enforce current licensing restrictions, says David Fullagar, vice president of content delivery architecture.

"Some members use proxies or 'unblockers' to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it," he writes on the official blog. "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."

While much of Netflix's own original content can be aired wherever the company pleases, externally licensed TV shows and movies are typically bound by geographic restrictions. That's why one country's Netflix might have content found elsewhere, which is why a user might use a proxy as a workaround.

"We have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere," Fullagar admits. "Over time, we anticipate being able to do so."

While the global expansion means there's probably little functional reason to access a Netflix service outside of the one designed for your country, anyone who's been exploiting the loopholes to catch a favourite TV series elsewhere will surely be disappointed by the news. You'll have to wait for the next workaround to emerge!

[Sources: Netflix, Gizmodo]