Netflix is ​​stepping up its battle against VPNs and claiming collateral casualties

While some people use VPNs to secure their communications, others use them to access content that is normally blocked in their country. For its part, Netflix has, for years, been engaged in a battle against the use of VPNs to unblock movies and series.

As you already know, the content available on Netflix varies from country to country. Also, it may happen for example that a user residing in France tries to access the US catalog, which may be more interesting, using a VPN.

For their part, some VPN developers are looking for ways to bypass the system that Netflix has set up against this practice. Usually, these developers do not share the technical details. But as TorrentFreak reports, these solutions often involve using residential IP addresses to trick Netflix’s algorithms into believing that this is a legitimate connection and not a VPN.

And recently, it appears that the VOD platform decided to step up the fight against the use of VPNs to gain access to its platform, in an effort to block suspicious residential IP addresses. The problem is that Netflix has clearly blocked residential IP addresses for people who don’t use VPNs as well. Basically, these would be collateral victims.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any numbers. However, based on testimonials on social media, TorrentFreak points out that these are not isolated cases. For example, one user noted that he can’t access the regular Netflix catalog when connected to his Wifi (possibly due to fixed IP address concern), but he can access it when he’s using mobile data.

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As a reminder, right now, when you try to unlock Netflix with a VPN, you can’t access the regular catalog, but only the original content. According to TorrentFreak, this was called out by a Netflix representative in a statement.

VOD also said it was inadvertently reaching out to those affected to help them restore access to the full Netflix catalog (corresponding to their countries).

There was a time when Netflix closed its eyes

In any case, it is important to remember that Netflix has not always been very strict about the use of VPNs by its subscribers. Furthermore, in 2015, we cited a study indicating that 29% of these subscribers use VPNs to get more content.

But in 2016, perhaps under pressure from non-original content rights holders, the platform began blocking access to VPN users. The platform displayed a message asking the user to deactivate the VPN or proxy.

However, this policy was relaxed in 2020: Netflix offers a catalog limited to its original content, which avoids problems with non-original content rights holders without completely excluding the user.

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