What Does Geoblocking Mean?

Geoblocking is the process of limiting user access to the internet based on their physical location. It is typically implemented by telecommunications companies, websites and other content providers and intellectual proprietors, often for the sake of copyright restrictions. Databases that map out IP addresses’ physical locations are often used to manage and enforce geoblocks.


Techopedia Explains Geoblocking

Geoblocking often uses encryption in order to protect content that is intended only for specific regions. Throughout its history, the practice has faced a number of challenges. A notable example is the case of a German student who tried to purchase geoblocked content from UK-based Sky TV in the early 1990s, only to be denied by the company. The undergraduate then studied Sky TV’s proprietary encryption tool, and developed Season7, a piece of decryption software that ultimately allowed viewers all over Europe to access Sky TV’s content for free.

Today, although geoblocking remains in use by many major content providers (such as Netflix) the restrictions can be circumvented using a number of different methods (such as virtual private networks).


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.