The Internet has occupied every single area of human’s life. There is hardly a piece of information you cannot reach via the Internet. However, at least some regulations have to be introduced in order to filter the content and restrict the access to some websites in particular regions. One of the means of such restriction is geo-blocking, which is based on the person’s geographical position.
The main principle of geo-location is calculating the location of the user by checking IP address of the device used for accessing the Internet. The IP is checked up with either blacklist or whitelist and the result shows whether that particular user has the right for the access.
The main reason for geo-blocking is limiting the accessibility of some geographically restricted content, including TV shows and films. That is clearly done for licensing and copyright reasons. Some other reasons for geo-blocking are preventing frauds, price discrimination and online gambling (which in some countries is strictly prohibited)
Nevertheless, people have invented the way of circumventing that censorship. Virtual private networks (VPN) as well as special anonymizers will help you to keep out of geo-blocking. VPN allows users to pretend that they are accessing Internet from another spot of the globe. So even if a person has never lived, say, in the U.S., VPN will show the contrary.
Numerous services like Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer are examples of such regional restrictions. Netflix, for instance, had been so popular among Australian VPN users that they had to present an Australian doublet of the service back in 2014. A huge amount of Americans used VPN in order to stream British and Canadian broadcasts of the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics, as far as the NBC coverage was too low in quality.
Recently a PhD student from Ontario has presented a paper which describes a system which may help to define those who uses VPN in order to fake their geo-location and get access to Netflix or any other service which is not available in their countries.
Client Presence Verification (CPV) is a technique based on measurements which aim at checking the actual geographic location of the user. The matter is that delays in network data are deduced from triangles of geographic space, and CPV aims at identifying those triangles. A person who is trying to imitate a particular geo-location manipulates the calculation of geographical distance by using One Way Delays (OWDs). In spite of that, a huge amount of information is exchanged directly between the supplier’s spot of service and the real location of the user, and these delays may not match to the IP address volunteered to a website by VPN.
CPV system was tested out with the help of 80 network nodes based in the U.S. and Canada. The results were extremely successful as CPV succeeded at identifying the ‘triangles’ from delays in 1,749 out of 1,803 attempts to trick the system, which is actually 97%.
CPV may come in handy for a bunch of services, including Netflix, NBC and so on as it will help to define almost everyone who is trying to get access to the services by faking their geographical location. Such scenario has two possible outcomes: either VPN will stop existing, or people will modify it even more, probably using some other techniques for tricking access restriction.