A common practice among Netflix users is to use software to suggest they are from another country, thereby accessing content libraries they aren’t legally entitled to—and the company thus far hasn’t found a reasonable way to prevent this.
Canadian computer scientist AbdelRahman Abdou believes he may have a solution.
It starts by no longer relying on IP addresses, he says, which are not permanent or tied to GPS coordinates. They’re easy to fake, which is why the problem is so prevalent.
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Instead, Abdou’s PhD research suggests Netflix measure the network itself by developing a system which could look at specific measurements—such as the number of milliseconds it takes for data to cross copper cables—to determine approximate destinations.
Netflix has not shown any interest in Abdou’s research yet, but if the problem worsens, it may have no choice.
“As this conflict escalates, people will look into techniques like those,” he told The Globe and Mail.