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Netflix says the party’s over, plans to start cracking down on proxy users

Netflix Proxy Users

Due to complex licensing issues with content providers, the library of programming available to Netflix subscribers varies wildly from country to country. As a result, many enterprising users employ proxies or full-fledged apps like Smartflix in order to gain access to Netflix content they would otherwise be restricted from viewing.

Netflix has long been aware of this practice and has in the past indicated that it has no plans to ban individual users caught engaging in such behavior. What it will do, however, is take steps to make it much more challenging for users to skirt around regional content restrictions.

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In a blogpost published earlier today, David Fullagar, Netflix’s VP of Content Delivery Architecture, said that the streaming video giant in the coming weeks will take measures to try to curb unauthorized access to content.

“Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory,” Fullagar writes. “To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.”

Sadly, Netflix’s hands are pretty much tied here. While the company said that it’s working diligently to have its content be universally licensed across the globe, it’s still caught up in an antiquated geography-oriented licensing system that wasn’t designed for the digital age.

Netflix didn’t go into detail about what technologies or methods it plans to implement in order to stymie proxy access (aside from titling its post ‘Evolving Proxy Detection’), but we’ll probably start hearing some rumblings about the efficacy of its efforts in the weeks ahead.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.