“This content is unavailable in your region.” Sounds familiar, right? IT gets so frustrating when you want to watch a certain movie, show, or you want to use an app and it tada! This message shows up. Geo-blocking or geo-restriction is the internet’s reality. That is how large conglomerates and networks operate; to restrict content in specific locations and earn profits.
In this article, we will discuss what is geo-restriction, if it is legal and how to bypass it.
What is geo restricted?
According to Wikipedia, geo-restriction is: “Geo-restriction or geo-blocking is a technology that restricts access to the Internet content based upon the user’s geographical location.” It means that specific regions enjoy selective content on TV and the internet. For example, you can watch Downtown Abbey in the USA but not in UK.
How Geo-Restriction Works:
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) knows about your internet activity and they monitor it all the time with your IP. IP (Internet Protocol) is like your virtual home address. This is how your electronic devices are recognized on the web.
What happens is that Governments or websites block IPs of the region and that’s how the content becomes restricted. Your virtual location is always available to the agencies and they can control what you watch.
This also works even when you are traveling. If you are traveling to any EU country, you will only be able to access options available in that region. No matter from where you are coming.
Servers also use this technique to throttle your internet speed or bandwidth to control your internet usage. If you surpass the specific limit, they lower the bandwidth frequency in order to maintain the internet flow.
There are number of reasons for Geoblocking the content. Some are discussed below:
To Earn More Profits:
One of the reasons to block content to specific regions is to offer services with high profit margins in other countries. You may have experienced this on Amazon that some items are priced more in your country than in another one.
Also, many sports channel choose to sell rights of important events to specific channels for the same reason. Even in Olympics, countries show only those competitions in which they participated. Blocking other competitions using the same techniques.
Another reason for content geoblocking is the license costs. Sometimes the viewership is not as huge as the price of the license for showing the content. That is why many broadcasters, TV channels, and websites are unable to present their content to a wider audience.
Some countries have different laws and regulations so it becomes the reason for content restriction. For example, Cooking on High is banned in Singapore because the cooking show encourages cooking with marijuana as an ingredient. “Full Metal Jacket” was banned in Vietnam because it showed ‘Nam in less than pleasant ways.
Many so-called democratic countries as well as authoritarian ones employ this strategy widely. Countries such as South Korea, Iran, India, and even USA restrict content due to its reasons, such as, information control, extremism, blocking free speech, and others. The people are shown only what their government wants them to watch.
How do you bypass geographic restrictions?
It doesn’t mean that this is the end of the world and you will never be able to watch Disjointed ever again. There are a number of ways you can easily bypass geographic restrictions and watch blocked content.
Let’s look at them one by one:
- VPN: Virtual Private Network encrypts your IP (Internet Protocol) and enables you to change it to the desired IP. One of the most famous way to bypass geoblocking is to unblock websites with a VPN, because it is really easy. VeePN provides military-grade security and empowers you with better browsing options. The VeePN free download is available for both Mac and Windows users. A VPN has proved to be the most effective website unblocker.
- Proxy Server: Proxy servers are also very useful to unblock websites or blocked content. A Proxy server sits in the middle and provide you information from blocked websites. That way, your location remains secure. But your ISP still can watch the type of information which Proxy server access.
- Tor Browser: Tor browser adds layers of security upon your IP and so it becomes secured. No one can decipher the original location of the user. But the added layers of security also slows down the internet.
Is bypassing geo restrictions legal?
It is perfectly legal to bypass geo restrictions. You can gain access to websites to avail discounts, offers, and lower prices which are not originally available in your region. This activity is harmless and certainly known to everyone.
Is using a VPN to bypass geo-blocking illegal?
Using a VPN is not illegal. Sometimes it becomes a necessity because several apps are banned in different countries. While traveling you may need to have access to different tools or apps and it can only become possible by using a VPN.
Restricted content, blocked websites / app / content has its own benefits as well as downs. Some governments use it to protect their citizens from porn websites or content that spreads misinformation and extremism. On the other hand, the sabotage of free speech makes it a heinous crime and one that cannot be neglected.