Netflix is in a constant battle with proxy servers and VPNs who attempt to circumvent its region locks. Last week, the company issued a statement saying that it would be clamping down on those attempting to use VPNs. However, it is suspected that the announcement was merely the company attempting to appease broadcasters worried about its new expansion plans.
The media streaming company is now available in 10 countries across the world, although the amount of content varies across regions. This is mainly due to complex licensing agreements with local broadcasters, who may have the rights to certain shows. Netflix subscribers are aware of this, and use VPNs to access content that they are usually unable to see in their respective countries.
Netflix is now supposedly “cracking down” on these services to ensure that people are not violating broadcast rights agreements between companies. However, this is likely to simply be nothing more than paying lip service to the idea. Mostly because the company admitted that it is impossible to actually stop people from using VPNs.
Netflix executive, Neil Hunt, said at CES, “we do apply industry standard technologies to limit the use of proxies. Since the goal of the proxy guys is to hide the source it’s not obvious how to make that work well. It’s likely to always be a cat-and-mouse game. [We] continue to rely on blacklists of VPN exit points maintained by companies that make it their job. Once [VPN providers] are on the blacklist, it’s trivial for them to move to a new IP address and evade.”
This simply means that Netflix knows that attempting to fight VPN providers is futile, but it is saying that it will just to keep broadcasters happy. The company is attempting to expand the amount of content available in each region, but that will require a lot of negotiations with broadcasters and the last thing Netflix wants to do before that is antagonise them by allowing its subscribers to use the service to watch shows on other networks.
Of course, there really is nothing it can do about it. So it might be a little hasty to cancel that subscription just about now.