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Last week, it was reported that Netflix was taking steps to update its proxy detection techniques in an effort to stop users from watching content only available outside their own country. The announcement came after the firm said it was expanding to 130 new countries and would no longer tolerate customers using software to bypass geoblocks.
It now looks as if Netflix has made its first move in cracking down on this practice, and the first nation it’s apparently targeted is Australia. Melbourne-based VPN service uFlix says that the video streaming site has started blocking some of its users, who are seeing the message: “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again,” when attempting to access non-local content.
uFlix is trying to discover how its customers were identified, but it believes it has already discovered a workaround. Earlier today, the company tweeted: “We have found a fix, but are putting an additional measure in place before we release it. Fun times.”
Netflix hasn’t revealed exactly how it plans to stop people from using VPNs and proxies, but judging from what happened with uFlix it seems that the site is identifying and blocking IP addresses linked to these services.
TorGuard, one of the most popular VPN services available, has assured its customers that Netflix’s crackdown won’t affect them. "For those of you who rely on TorGuard VPN service to unblock Netflix content unrestricted, you don’t have to worry," the company wrote in a blog post. "Netflix will be pushing this plan forward soon, and when that happens, TorGuard will immediately deploy new server IP addresses so users can still bypass blocks."
It’s still unclear how much success Netflix will have in stopping these services in the long-term. The company has admitted that it was "trivial" for VPN providers to avoid blocks by switching IP addresses, so Netflix’s recent announcement may be a case of it trying to appease copyright holders more than anything else. We’ll find out over coming weeks if the company really has found a more effective blocking method.