One of the most idiotic aspects of the internet these days is geoblocking -- the practice of certain websites only being available in certain countries. Nothing seems to get internet users angrier than going to any particular piece of content online, knowing it exists on an easily accessible server... and being told "screw you, because of the patch of dirt you happen to physically be sitting on at this moment, you can't see this content." The standard way around these things has been to use proxies or various VPN services that allow you to route your traffic through other countries. However, an ISP in New Zealand (a country frequently beset by "not available in your territory"-type messages) has decided to add a geoblocking-workaround service as a standard feature for all its users
. The ISP, Slingshot, has a pretty straightforward explanation for its new "Global Mode"
Ever tried to go to a website, only to be told you can't see it because you live in New Zealand? We think that's bizarre, and it's why we have introduced Global Mode.
Global Mode is a brilliant service that lets you visit a range sites that are normally blocked to people from New Zealand. And it's free for Slingshot broadband customers.
We think it's pretty awesome - and lets you surf and view the sites that you want to see.
And, of course, this means that folks in New Zealand using Slingshot can get easy access to things like Netflix and Hulu
, which were previously geoblocked. It will be interesting to see how the various content providers respond to this move. So far, the only stated response is that some believe that better licensing
in those countries will win the day, but that seems unlikely.
Here's a prediction: if this becomes more common (and other ISPs are apparently paying close attention
), expect to see this issue pop up in various trade agreement talks like TPP and TAFTA/TTIP. Content providers will probably seek to insert some ridiculous clause equating getting around geoblocking to getting around DRM, and make it defacto infringement.