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The battle begins: Australia sees the first effects of Netflix’s VPN crackdown

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Last week, Netflix announced plans to begin blocking those using VPNs to access programming not available in their own geographical region. It remains to be seen how many users will eventually be affected by this move, but it seems that the crackdown has begun in Australia.

VPN provider uFlix has posted an update saying that some of its users are now unable to watch non-Australian content using its service, seeing a message that reads “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.”

Unlike many other VPN providers, uFlix is aimed specifically at those looking to watch region-restricted video content from Netflix, Hulu, and others. The company says only a small number of users are affected for the time being, but it expects that number to keep increasing. “We are working on a solution to get around these new measures and apologize for the inconvenience to those who are currently only getting Australian Netflix,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Other VPN providers have already vowed to find workarounds for the block if and when their services become blocked. For the time being, however, none of the major services have been affected. Given uFlix’s branding and stated purpose, it being the first service to be blocked doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

“Customers use our VPN to help stay safe and private online, and we believe people should be no less safe and private simply because they might be streaming video,” Danvers Baillieu, COO of one of the world’s largest VPN providers, Hide My Ass!, said yesterday. “We’d like to reassure those customers that we haven’t seen any degradation in quality of service and we’re not aware of customers experiencing any issues.”

While it isn’t available yet, uFlix says it has already found a way to get around the block, The Australian reports. “We have found a fix, but are putting an additional measure in place before we release it. Fun times,” the company said.

Considering the pressure Netflix has seen from content providers that only want their content available in certain regions, more VPN services are certain to find themselves blocked in the near future.

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