As you may or may not be aware, Netflix has been taking no prisoners in their war on VPN usage in conjunction with their streaming service. Since Netflix’s library of movies and television varies wildly from country to country, users around the world had previously been taking advantage of VPN services’ geo-switching feature, which allows users to pretend to be in the country where the Netflix catalog is more to their liking (read all about it in our Learn section for Netflix).
So Netflix’s solution has been basically a zero-tolerance policy towards VPN usage. While we understand that Netflix is beholden to contracts that they hold with production companies (which provide them with the content that fills the streaming service’s libraries), this Netflix VPN ban has always struck us as a bad idea.
The primary purpose of VPN usage is to protect one’s sensitive online data by tunneling it through encrypted servers, and given the prevalence of data hacks, it seems unwise to discourage VPN usage, even if the activity Netflix is seeking to prevent is a little underhanded. Furthermore, a Netflix VPN ban restricts users who are overseas, or on US-based government locations like military bases, and consulates that can’t get a US address despite being legitimately in the US region.
And now it seems there’s further collateral damage from the Netflix ban.
Netflix Ban Affects IPv6 Users
As reported in Tech Republic, the Netflix VPN ban has led to a further ban on users of the Internet protocol IPv6. This new Internet protocol is provided by certain ISPs like Charter and Hurricane Electric, and basically offers users access to an emerging IP network that is not nearly as over-crowded as IPv4, which has issued over 4.3 billion IP addresses since 1981, almost all of which are in use.
Since IPv6 is a new protocol, it lacks the infrastructure of the long-in-use IPv4. Consequently, ISPs that offer IPv6 have to include a tunneling service for their users, much in the same way VPNs tunnel their users to new IP addresses. Because this activity is similar to VPN usage, Netflix has been blocking IPv6 users, despite the fact that IPv6 users are typically tunneling from one part of the country to another part of the same country.
So IPv6 users, who are not engaged in any geo-switching chicanery for the purpose of accessing other countries’ Netflix Instant libraries, are being summarily booted from Netflix for engaging in VPN-like behavior. Netflix’s response to all this is to suggest that users demand that their ISPs stop using IPv6.
As Tech Republic rightly points out, Netflix is the one in error:
The logical means of solving this problem is simply to fallback to IPv4, though Netflix has not implemented this behavior. For a client-side fix, users of Hurricane Electric’s Tunnelbroker can use this script to send a blank AAAA response for Netflix domains, thereby forcing the connection back to IPv4 without having to disable IPv6 entirely.
So until Netflix gets there house in order, we recommend steering clear of VPN usage in conjunction with Netflix, or even engaging in any tunneling behavior that Netflix may misconstrue as geo-switching. And maybe sign the My Netflix, My Privacy, a petition supported by NordVPN that is intended to encourage Netflix to end their VPN ban.