Netflix is stepping up efforts to ban users who adopt a virtual private network (VPN) to watch content from other countries.
Typically, Netflix has different catalogues for different countries. What’s available in the US isn’t available in the UK and vice versa. This is because the streaming giant can’t secure the rights to stream third-party content outside of a designated area.
However, a typical VPN connection allows anyone to circumvent that and make the service think it is being used in the target country.
But according to a report in TorrentFreak, Netflix is blocking the home IP address of users that are known to adopt a VPN. The site reports that copyright holders are annoyed with people for using VPNs (some of which can be downloaded and used for free) to get around the restrictions.
Alternatively, Netflix appears to be serving up a partial ban to some users. Meaning they are only able to access Netflix Originals shows and movies. Because Netflix owns the rights to these productions, it can stream them wherever it wants.
Of course, there are many reasons why people may choose to use a VPN to access different geographical content. Such as needing to find something to watch in a language (or with subtitles) they understand.
Speaking to Torrent Freak, a WeVPN spokesperson said: ‘You have hundreds of thousands of legitimate residential Netflix subscribers blocked from accessing Netflix’s local country full catalogue from their home.’
Back in March, it emerged Netflix was also testing ways to stop people sharing their accounts with others in a bid to dodge the subscription fee.
Some users reported a warning screen flashing up when they load up the app.
It read: ‘If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.’
Once the warning was given, the viewer is then asked to verify their identity. This happens through an email or text containing a code sent to the number or address registered to the owner’s account.
‘This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so,’ a Netflix spokesperson explained.
The option to ‘verify later’ is also presented, suggesting the text/email will be sent at a later date.
The accounts being used to test this process are seemingly random, and it’s not yet clear if and when it will be rolled out to the UK. At the moment, it’s only limited to TVs running Netflix (not smartphones or tablets) and is in multiple countries.
Password sharing is commonplace when it comes to Netflix as the service – at present – doesn’t place a limit on how many devices you can sign in on. It only limits the amount of devices that can be watched simultaneously depending on your subscription package.
In February 2021, a LendingTree poll suggested that 72% of Netflix subscribers let someone else use their account.
However, the Netflix terms of service, which all users agree to when they sign up for the service, specifically prohibit sharing account details with others.
It states that login information: “may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.”
The streaming giant has previously worked with artificial intelligence to try and catch people who share their account passwords with others. METRO