It could be bad news for Canadians who are masking their location online in order to access U.S. Netflix, as the site is rumoured to be cracking down on those users.
It’s no secret that the American Netflix site has a more robust catalog of streaming options than its Canadian counterpart, thanks largely to the complexity of international licensing for the material. Many Canadians and other streaming enthusiasts around the globe have turned to VPNs, virtual private networks, through a variety of paid or free services, that mask their geolocation in order to access the U.S. Netflix and other location-restricted websites and apps.
However, Netflix’s policy prohibits VPN and similarly masked access, and the site has allegedly been feeling the pressure from the movie and television show makers. “The movie studios are not happy with these deviant subscribers as it hurts their licensing agreements,” notes TorrentFreak.com, adding: “Previously entertainment industry sources in Australia complained bitterly that tens of thousands of Netflix ‘VPN-pirates’ were hurting their business.”
In Australia alone, where Netflix isn’t available at all, an estimated 200,000 households use an online workaround to use the U.S. Netflix site, according to CNET.
Rumours of industry lobbying against VPN access to Netflix became widespread last fall, and with them the notion that were Netflix to block Australians, Canadians would likely soon follow.
Anonymous VPN provider TorGuard told TorrentFreak they have experienced a surge in subscribers reporting being blocked from the site. TorGuard theorizes Netflix is testing out IP blocking methods in some markets, and will perhaps launch a more aggressive blocking action in the near future.
Netflix, however, denies that they are enforcing their anti-VPN policy any more than they usually do. In a statement issued by Netflix (via Globe and Mail), the company says they haven’t stepped up their blocking: