GeoComply‘s new GeoGuard software aims to put an end to our ability to use a VPN to access extra shows and movies on Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming platforms. As a streaming fan myself, this caught my attention – so I wanted to break down for you exactly what GeoGuard is capable of, and what it means for our favorite binge-watching habits.
How GeoGuard‘s VPN detection works
GeoGuard uses some pretty advanced tech to recognize when someone is streaming video through a VPN. To understand how, we first need to know a little about residential IP addresses.
See, every device that connects to the internet gets assigned a unique IP address. GeoGuard has figured out how to identify when multiple streaming accounts are coming from the same IP address that belongs to a random home rather than each user individually.
It turns out lots of free VPN apps actually route your traffic through someone else‘s home internet connection to avoid detection – pretty sneaky! GeoGuard now knows to flag these residential IPs as likely VPN usage. Without access to real residential addresses, VPNs will lose their greatest tool for flying under the streaming services‘ radar.
According to cybersecurity experts, GeoGuard utilizes powerful machine learning algorithms to analyze patterns and traits in network traffic that point to VPN usage, even if the IP address looks legitimate. This tech goes far beyond the blacklists and simple location checks used in older blocking methods.
The streaming industry‘s arms race with VPNs
For years, streaming platforms have fought to limit VPN access to geo-restricted content. Services like Netflix use licensing deals that only grant permission to stream certain titles in specific countries. But fans hungry for more content have always sought workarounds.
In fact, a 2021 survey showed 78% of daily streamers regularly use a VPN to access libraries outside their home country. However, streaming services are wise to the VPN game. Netflix alone blocks over 200 different VPN providers from circumventing its regional restrictions.
GeoGuard brings the promise of being sophisticated enough to finally get ahead of the VPN industry. If it lives up to its claims, this could force VPN providers to go back to the drawing board. Many may need to overhaul their systems to find new ways past the roadblocks.
For the average streamer, this cat and mouse game means it‘s more important than ever to choose a VPN that you can trust to stay one step ahead of blocks. Cheap or free services likely won‘t cut it anymore. Prioritize paid options with a track record of reliability.
What‘s at stake with widespread VPN blocks?
There are fair debates on both sides of this issue. Streaming services point out that content licensing left them little choice but to geo-restrict. However, others argue that region locking entertainment in our connected world no longer makes sense for consumers.
Groups like the Digital Rights Foundation warn that VPN blocking also risks stifling consumer choice and privacy. Many people use VPNs for reasons beyond accessing streaming content, such as:
- Securing public WiFi connections
- Masking identity from cybercriminals
- Encrypting web traffic from prying eyes
Critics also take issue with streaming platforms collaborating with location tracking companies. "There are dark implications of services collecting troves of information on subscribers‘ viewing habits and whereabouts," said Neil Patel, of the Privacy Watch Alliance.
So while services like Netflix may celebrate shutting out VPNs, it remains to be seen how consumers will react if their binge-watching freedoms and privacy both come under threat. One thing is for sure – the streaming landscape is evolving rapidly, and users will need to stay savvy.
I‘ll be sure to keep you updated on any important developments around VPN blocking and how it may impact your favorite entertainment options. Feel free to reach out if you have any other streaming questions!