Netflix’s threat against the usage of VPNs and proxy servers has apparently been carried out. Australian customers of the content streaming service have been reporting that they are unable to access anything while connecting through a VPN.
uFlix, a Melbourne based proxy server company, has reported that a small number of its users have been receiving warning messages for using its service. “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again,” reads the message from Netflix. At the moment, it doesn’t seem to be affecting everyone just yet; and only an unlucky handful are currently being blocked. Despite this, uFlix believes that the number VPN users being blocked will only increase over the next few weeks.
Netflix had originally threatened to clamp down on the use of VPNs to circumvent regional limitations on content. While the company is working to get as many shows as it can into its library, complex broadcasting agreements often prevent it from allowing global users access to the same shows. This recent attempt to uphold its end of the broadcasting agreements had originally appeared to be an empty threat, as Netflix had previous admitted that it was futile to even try.
This is not the end of the story, as uFlix has vowed to keep trying to work around the blocks and continue to provide its customers with the service they want. uFlix managing director Peter Dujan took a defiant stand and told Fairfax media that “at the end of the day it’s simply a game of cat and mouse, and this is our job, so let’s play.”
To be fair, Netflix is not the enemy here either. CEO Reed Hastings believes that current content broadcasting laws are outdated, and is working towards getting all available content into every country it serves. This latest move against VPNs mainly comes from shareholder pressure, who expect Hastings to do more to enforce the restrictions placed upon his company.