Earlier this month Netflix announced that it would increase its efforts to block subscribers who circumvent geo-blockades.
This means that it will be harder to use VPN services and proxies to access Netflix content from other countries, as movie studios have requested.
With the application of commercial blacklist data Netflix blocks IP-addresses that are linked to such services. The announcement caused concern among many people who live and work abroad, including U.S. military personnel.
Many soldiers stationed in the Middle East and elsewhere use Netflix in combination with a VPN, to feel ‘at home.’ Soon, this may no longer be possible, at least not for those who live off-base.
While Netflix is determined to take stronger action against VPN-pirates, the company also says that all U.S. military bases are exempt from blockades, Stars and Stripes reports
“Netflix always exempts U.S. military bases around the world. They will still be able to access the U.S. catalog,” Netflix spokesperson Anne Marie Squeo said.
This is an interesting decision, since most military bases abroad are not considered U.S. soil. Also, we are not aware of a similar treatment for other overseas workers or military bases of non-U.S. countries.
Still, for most soldiers this gesture is not enough, as they live off-base.
Jesse Fowler, a hospital corpsman stationed in Bahrain, says he’s not disappointed with the local offering of Netflix but relies on a VPN to access some shows that are not available.
“…I’m mad if I can’t change where my Internet is so I can’t watch my own shows,” Fowler says.
This sentiment is shared by the Bahrain-stationed Navy counselor Eric Cutright. “My VPN hasn’t been blocked. But if it does, I will be pissed. Netflix Bahrain is trash,” he said.
TorrentFreak has kept a close eye on the recent developments and Netflix has indeed started to block more VPN providers. However, blocking all of them appears to be a difficult task, especially because several providers continue to add new IP-addresses.
Ironically, many soldiers may switch to piracy again when Netflix is no longer an option, turning the clock back half a decade.