Netflix Responds to Reports of Crackdown on VPN and Proxy Users

On the weekend TorrentFreak reported Netflix had begun cracking down on users that accessed the streaming video service via VPN or proxies, to access foreign libraries other than their home country:

Over the past weeks Netflix has started to take action against people who use certain circumvention tools. The Android application started to force Google DNS which now makes it harder to use DNS based location unblockers, and several VPN IP-ranges were targeted as well.

One VPN provider, TorGuard, noted in mid-December a “handful of clients” reported temporary problems accessing Netflix via VPN or proxy.

TorGuard’s Ben Van der Pelt suspected 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.”

Netflix has responded to these reports by issuing the following statement to the Canadian Press:

“Virtually crossing borders to use Netflix is a violation of our terms of use because of content licensing restrictions. We employ industry standard measures to prevent this kind of use. There hasn’t been any recent changes to the Netflix VPN policy or terms of use,”

Take that statement for what it’s worth. We know numerous Canadians are already accessing Netflix libraries in the U.S. via VPN services or proxies. Could the days of watching U.S. Netflix in Canada come to an end soon (MacGyver needs you).

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • ArcAngelmd

    Hulu did this with IP ranges a way back, but DNS modifiers fixed it. It’s always been just a matter of days (or less) and the VPN/DNS providers have gotten around it. No doubt it will be the same again. Seems like these services just have to show they’ve done some action to appease copyright holders. You can be sure that Netflix wants our money regardless of where we are from!

  • Travis Owen

    My understanding is that late last year they started doing this with (at least) the PS3 Netflix application. Since then I’ve had a lot of issues using Netflix on my PS3 as Google DNS tends to return addresses that have broken routing through Shaw.

  • MrXax

    The minute my VPN provider gets hit with this, I cancel my account and return to less savoury methods to access my content.

  • K3

    For a first this year Canadian Netflix had a more comparable offering instead of feeling like a 100% watered down US version. Even if they did lock out VPN activity though the Canadian version will have to carry a better library than years before thanks to Shomi.

  • Al

    Like some other services, the one I use allows you to select from numerous countries on the fly. I’m currently bouncing around between 4 countries to access all of the Netflix shows & movies that I want to see.

  • Patrick Ducharme

    The thing is that now, they are hardcoding DNS resolution inside the Netflix App itself; If you point to your DNS unblocker, the app won’t use them to resolve and it will be blocked.

    An easy way to work around that new thing is to have a router that can run iptables and just redirect all request on LAN that are destinated to 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 to your DNS unblockers IP’s. Doing that will have the Netflix App think it “talk” with Google DNS and that should work.

  • ABetterWorld

    It’s not in their interest to block clients off. They could break their subscription off, in the process, losing millions.

  • youreallyhavenoclue

    Hola! Better Internet? I haven’t had any problems so far access content from the US or Britain using this, even since this announced crack down 🙂

  • Parksy

    Diddo. I’ve been using unblock-us for a couple years and I’ve been happy. If only they could block my bittorrent activity too.

  • Parksy

    I’d likely cancel my subscription if I got limited to Canadian Netflix. I’m currently using Finland and it’s awesome.

  • Parksy

    I’m rolling with a free subscription of Shomi until the end of March. I currently find myself using it more than Netflix because I can watch it through my cable box and not have to worry about any network congestion or Netflix issues which are common on a typical Friday or Saturday night.

  • Al

    I don’t understand your comment. I never said I had access problems.

  • youreallyhavenoclue

    Is the tool you are using “Hola! better Internet” the chrome/Firefox plugin? I’m guessing not since you didn’t understand my comment lol.

    What are you using?

  • Micheal Justin

    Any VPN worth its salt won’t be able to inform you of anything you do, legal or otherwise. The whole point is that they don’t know what you’re doing. That’s the “P” part of VPN. The very best won’t even know who you are because they’ll require only an email address or username and some form of payment that can be anonymous (eg bitcoin or those pre-paid credit cards you can get these days).

  • Alan Wade

    I had no issues to watch Netflix outside US since i got my PureVPN account

  • Kendra

    Great article Gary. The DNS option is better than using a VPN regarding content streaming because you can achieve direct connection with the media station ex. Netflix and avoid the “middle-man”. Personally, I am using UnoTelly which is similar to TorGuard. Perhaps you should check UnoTelly as well if you haven’t done so.