Netflix Scuppers VPN Users With Android Updates

It looks like Netflix wants to stop VPN users from accessing its services. The company has updated its Android application to prevent VPN users from using custom DNS servers that redirect some traffic over a VPN server located in the country of their choice.

Netflix and Hulu may be popular Internet based video-streaming services but they are not accessible in many countries because of the geographical blocks imposed on them.

Users in other countries often get around these geographical restrictions by connecting through a virtual private network (VPN). This trick has worked until now, but Netflix no longer wants non-compliant users to access its service.

The problem was first reported by some Reddit users with two VPN providers, including UnoTelly and Unblock-US confirming this.

UnoTelly informed users on their forum as far back as October and Unblock-US posted its message on Christmas Day.
No other VPNs have said whether they have been affected or not.

It is not exactly clear why Netflix made this move now. VPN users have been accessing their service for several years and if they really wanted, they could have addressed this issue years ago. One possible explanation is that Netflix is under pressure from the studios and rights holders.

Right now, only version 3.7.2 of Netflix’s Android app is affected by this move. VPN users on other platforms can still access the service. This move could be part of Netflix’s plans to make its video streaming service unavailable to non-compliant users. If the company is really serious, they can also make the same modifications to their apps for other platforms.

By connecting through DNS-based VPNs, users can bypass geographical restrictions imposed by Netflix. Over 200,000 Australians now access Netflix by bypassing geo-blocks. People in other countries also access Netflix with the help of VPNs.

However, accessing Netflix by bypassing geographical restrictions with the help of VPNs is against their terms and conditions.

How Users Get Around Netflix Geoblocks

A VPN allows users to access geographically restricted content from anywhere in the world, through servers in different parts of the world.

Netflix for example is not yet available in Australia. But VPN users in Australia can easily get around this issue by connecting through a server in the US. Actually, they have been doing this for a long time with over 200,000 Australians use their service illegally, and now this issue has become too big for Netflix to ignore.

During the infamous Sony hack earlier this month, leaked emails revealed Sony was increasingly frustrated with Netflix users hopping over geofilters and accessing content that wasn’t licensed for their country.

In the latest version of Netflix’s Android app, the Domain Name Server (DNS) is forced to be Google Public DNS.

UnoTelly has confirmed that previously they could prevent the app from looking up Google DNS on the router and force Netflix to use their UnoDNS. But now their Android app doesn’t work if Google DNS is blocked. However, Netflix still works on Android if users use the version 3.7.1 of the app.