Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

Netflix now blocks residential IP addresses in its efforts to stymie VPN and proxy users from bypassing geographical restrictions. But some ordinary Internet users without a VPN have been impacted and now report “missing content” on Netflix. When Netflix began this crackdown six years ago, it was in response to copyright holders complaining about piracy. But the ban hit a lot of legitimate VPN users and VPN pirates found other ways to get around geographic blocking including using residential IP addresses as proxies.

TorrentFreak reports that, “this cat and mouse game has caused quite a bit of frustration at Netflix headquarters and, over the past few days, the company appears to have intensified its blocking measures.” It adds that, “now, VPN users can still see Netflix originals while other content is hidden and blocked … [and] people who try to access blocked titles directly through a saved URL will see Netflix’s dreaded proxy/VPN error message instead.”

Netflix has been mum on “which IP addresses are blocked and why, but the most recent efforts are much broader than before.” According to WeVPN, “the updated geo-fencing system is blocking its residential IP addresses … assigned to common consumer ISPs such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon.”

WeVPN also noted that, “the collateral damage is that you have hundreds of thousands of legitimate residential Netflix subscribers blocked from accessing Netflix’s local country full catalog from their home.” Netflix stated that it “is not banning all content for VPN and proxy services … [and] is working with people who were inadvertently affected to restore access to the full library.”

Ars Technica reports that, after Netflix began blocking VPN and proxy providers, “those services have fought back by finding ways to evade its and other streaming services’ blocking attempts.”

“The simplest way is just to discard an existing subnet that’s been widely identified as ‘VPN/proxy’ and purchase another, ‘clean’ space,” it notes, buying a few days or weeks “before the new subnet is added to the list.” But instead of an “outright ban on devices coming from a blocked IP address, the service now somewhat selectively removes access to region-locked content.”

A savvy user “who tries to access hidden content using a deep link directly to that content gets a ‘Pardon the interruption’ error dialog asking the user to turn off VPNs and proxies instead.” The specific number of how many users who don’t use VPNs and proxies and have been cut off from content isn’t yet known.

Related:
8 Reasons Everyone Should Use VPN – Including Non-Techies, Forbes, 8/4/21