With the advent of the Internet, the conviction came to finally have in your hands a free tool that allows you to access any type of information. Indeed. Due to the use of geolocation this is not really the case. Due to the use of geoblocking, or geolocation, many sites are blocked preventing you from accessing.
How does geolocation work to determine the location of a device? Is it possible to change geolocation and unblock otherwise inaccessible websites?
The following information will give you a precise answer to these questions. You will also find a guide on how to disable geolocation from internet browsers.
What is Geolocation and How It Works?
Geolocation is a technology used to determine the geographic location of a device connected to the Internet with some accuracy.
There are several techniques for detecting the location of a device. In the case of networked devices, geolocation uses the device’s IP address.
The IP address is a numeric code that uniquely identifies a device and is assigned to your device by your internet service provider. Even if it is not as accurate as the GSM signal, the IP address reveals important information about your device, including the location from which you are connecting to the Internet. This way the various websites are able to determine where you are connecting from.
Geolocation plays an important role for several functions. For example, thanks to geolocation, many sites such as Google, are able to provide you with information relevant to the area in which you are, such as, for example, when you search for a restaurant, a hotel, a service or something else. The results that are displayed to you are all in the vicinity where you are.
Another example of using geolocation is the function to find your device. Geolocation allows you to track your smartphone or tablet at any time.
Geolocation and Geoblocking
In addition to all these functions that can be of some use, geolocation is also used to implement geoblocking.
In fact, many websites use geolocation to block access to users who connect outside certain geographical areas. As just explained, websites are able to recognize your IP address and therefore the geographical location from which you are connecting. Thanks to this information, sites can allow or block access to the site depending on the geographic location from which you are connecting. This practice is called geoblocking.
For example, if you try to access RAI streaming while you are outside Italy, instead of having access to the contents you will be shown this message:
Example of a site blocked using geolocation
The same thing happens for many sites including Sky GO, Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, BBC I Player, Spotify, and the list goes on and on.
Why is Geoblockink used?
There are many reasons why many companies use geolocation to block content.
One reason certainly has to do with copyright. Many streaming sites such as Netflix, HBO Go, BBC iPlayer and many others have bought the rights to broadcast their content only in certain countries. To avoid violations of copyright agreements, these sites must block access to all users who do not reside in the country where the company owns the rights.
Other sites, as already mentioned, use geolocation to increase the accuracy of their services. This is the case, for example, when your internet searches are refined based on your geographic location.
In other situations, the purposes are less noble. Many companies, for example, charge for their products based on the geographic location of their customers. A classic example is Apple. If you make a quick comparison between Apple’s US site and the Italian one, you will see that the prices for our market are much higher than those applied in the United States.
The same thing happens with platforms for online shopping, booking hotels, flights, cars and more. By connecting to these sites from other countries, the prices for the same service can sometimes be reduced by up to 50% compared to what you would pay by connecting from Italy.
Is Geoblocking Legal?
Now, regardless of whether the practice of geoblocking is right or not, it is evident that geolocation plays a fundamental role in making the internet not as free as many think.
As for the legality of this practice, the relevant legislation is not clear or well defined.
Europe is the continent where more is currently being done to prevent geolocation from being used as a means of discrimination. In May 2015, the European Union launched an initiative to promote free electronic commerce among the member states of the union without some citizens being penalized due to their geographical position. In November 2016, the Council of the European Union adopted a resolution banning unjustified geo-blocking between its member states.
These initiatives have had a positive effect for European citizens as the adverse effects of geolocation have been significantly reduced even if they have not been completely eliminated. For example, if you want to watch BBC iPlayer from Italy, geoblocking does not allow you to access. This is just one example of how geolocation still has an impact on European citizens.
At the international level, the situation is more complicated. Services like Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, PayPal and many others use geo-blocks all the time. The main reason given by these companies for using geolocation is to protect copyright.
However, platforms like Netflix stream content and don’t allow the content to be downloaded. For this reason, it is unclear whether viewing this online content from a different geographic location actually constitutes a violation of copyright law.
In any case, there is no legislation that specifically refers to the practice of circumventing localization. For this reason, when you bypass geoblocking restrictions you are not committing a crime and you are not subject to any legal action.
How to Bypass Geolocation?
Geolocation limits your use of the network, does not allow you to access all the resources available on the network and does not give you complete access to the information available on the internet.
- Is it possible to bypass geolocation?
- Is there a safe way to unblock websites?
The answer to these questions is yes. Bypassing geolocation is not only possible but by using a VPN you can remove geoblocking very easily.
You can also use a Proxy to bypass geo-blocks as these tools are also capable of masking your real IP address and replacing it with a virtual one. However, proxies are not as effective as a USA VPN and have several disadvantages especially when it comes to security.
The best and most effective solution is to use a great VPN like Fastest VPN to get access to any online content without limitations. Not to mention that a VPN totally protects your privacy by making your internet browsing safe at all times.
Best VPNs to Disable Geolocation
While there are countless VPNs on the market, not all of them are equally effective at getting around geoblocking. For example, free VPNs don’t use strong enough technology to get around the strictest geo-blocks.
In the course of our tests, we selected the three VPNs that have proven most reliable for disabling geolocation.