In what is obviously a huge win for virtual private network providers, the European Parliament has decided Netflix and other streaming service companies can no longer block content based on the geographic location of the user.
Because of various licensing agreements with content providers, services like Netflix restricts the availability of television shows and movies based on someone’s physical location. An American traveling to Canada, for example, would still have their American Netflix account, but the content provided to them would be limited to what’s available to Canadian subscribers.
Many Europeans in recent years have turned to virtual private networks, otherwise known as VPNs, which try to trick streaming services like Netflix that a user is actually in a different geographic location than he or she actually is. For example, that American user in Canada could use a VPN that displays an American IP address, and with that, receive the usual American programming choices, and not the Canadian ones.
Netflix, however, has cracked down significantly on the use of VPNs, especially in Europe, finding new ways to identify when VPNs are being used, and forcing the user to view only the content licensed for their physical location.