Netflix steps up proxy blocking to celebrate Oscars weekend

And the Academy Award for ruining my day goes to...

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Aaron Souppouris
February 29, 2016 6:54 AM
In this article: dns, entertainment, gear, netflix, proxy, services, vpn
Netflix steps up proxy blocking to celebrate Oscars weekend

What else gets you in the inclusionary spirit of the Oscars like your favorite streaming service blocking you from accessing it? That's the reality many woke to this weekend when Netflix stepped up its efforts to block those using VPNs and other region unlocks from viewing shows and movies.

While Netflix has been slowly blocking VPNs and DNS workarounds over the past couple of months -- Australia was first to feel the pinch -- this weekend has seen a slew of complaints from around Europe. Users in Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic and the UK have all reported being blocked. Anecdotally, Engadget writers have seen access revoked for using a VPN that doesn't actually "change" locations -- a UK-based VPN while in the UK, for example.


An error shown while attempting to watch Netflix on a UK VPN from the UK.

It seems like if you're using a VPN or DNS region changer, your days watching Netflix are numbered. The service says it's implementing the blocks due to the "historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories," shifting the blame to the movie and TV industry. However, given that the changes also affect viewers who are merely using a VPN for privacy or work reasons, it's drawing ire from a wider audience than necessary.

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