Netflix is carrying out its threat to block VPN users (NFLX)

Reed Hastings NetflixAP

It appears Netflix was serious about restricting access to users who access the service from a different country. 

Earlier this month, Netflix announced that it would crack down on VPN use.

Using a VPN, which stands for Virtual Personal Network, meant that someone in the UK could access the US version of Netflix, for example. 

This is important for users because the deals for TV and film rights differ from country to country, meaning that some versions — such as the US one — have a wider range of content. 

Netflix has previously been fairly blasé about letting users do this, making the crackdown a big change in policy. 

The reason for this ambivalence was simple: The company had a lot of customers who paid for the service because they could watch shows elsewhere. China, for example, has 20 million Netflix users despite the service not officially being available, all of whom access the service with a VPN. 

At the time of the announcement, Netflix said "in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are" and it seems this is coming true. 

This is a dramatic change from the comments made by Neil Hunt, Netflix’s chief product officer, a year ago. "The claims that we have changed our policy on VPN are false," said Hunt. "People who are using a VPN to access our service from outside of the area will find that it still works exactly as it has always done." 

However, uFlix, a VPN that operates out of Australia, is reporting that some users cannot access any non-Australian versions of the service. Anyone who tries gets this message: "You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again." 

There was speculation after Netflix announced the change that the company couldn’t follow through on it. However, the report from uFlix seems to contradict this assessment. 

How Netflix managed to crack down on VPN use when it had previously stated it couldn’t is unclear. The company might be targetting specific VPNs, such as uFlix in Australia. 

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from Business Insider

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