Netflix cracking down on VPNs?

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 5 January 2015
Kevin Spacey in Netflix's original series House of Cards.

Netflix is reportedly experimenting with ways to block virtual private network (VPN) addresses from accessing its service, potentially delivering a blow to the estimated 200,000 Australians who stream shows from the US company.

While Netflix has flatly denied it has changed the way it is dealing with geoblocking, VPN TorGuard told TorrentFreak that it had noticed users were seeing problems with access to the service over the past month.

“This is a brand new development. A few weeks ago we received the first report from a handful of clients that Netflix blocked access due to VPN or proxy usage,” TorGuard’s Ben Van der Pelt was quoted as saying.

“This is the very first time I’ve ever heard Netflix displaying this type of error message to a VPN user.”

However, while users have received error messages when trying to access the service via a VPN, it is believed the problem can be rectified by quickly logging into another US address.

The fact there is an easy workaround at this stage has led observers to speculate that Netflix is only in the opening stages of experimenting with the technology, but with Netflix eyeing up international markets, it could be a signal that it is about to get a lot tougher on VPN access.

It also comes as content providers to the service such as Sony express desire to make sure content is being seen in the market it is being sold into, rather than in different markets.

Netflix is also making a well-publicised entry into Australia next year, but many Australians are using VPNs to access the US service.

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