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Maybe you will need to go write a letter to your congressman

All you want to know about computers by Charles Miller

Over the last few months I have received several reports from people having difficulty hiding their IP address. These individuals want to obscure their IP address so that content providers such as Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and others will not know they are in Mexico. Of course, their reason for wanting to hide their IP address is they are breaking the rules, the part of the Terms of Service that says content such as movies, can only be provided to domestic customers. People are cavalier about flaunting these restrictions, and using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide their real location is one way to do it.

In the same way using a radar detector might help a lead-footed driver avoid speeding tickets, using a VPN to hide your location online is no guarantee you will not get caught. Those who sign up with a service to stream movies over the internet can claim that they live in a mailbox in Laredo, Texas; however, if the content provider ever finds out they are physically located in San Miguel de Allende, the provider is obligated to cease providing copyrighted content to that customer. There is no guarantee you will not be caught if you fail to abide by the rules.

The root of the problem is that intellectual property, including movies and music, is protected by copyright laws, which differ by jurisdiction. Organizations, such as the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, lobby for the enactment of laws and their enforcement to protect their property. Under existing laws, providers such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix are required to sell content only to customers in their own country and not across international boundaries. This fails to recognize the 21st century reality of the internet, but that is the law. I, for one, will be glad to see the laws changed to be more in tune with reality, but for now we have to deal with this reality.

Among the questions I have received from people is, what can they do when they get caught breaking the rules and have their service terminated. This has now happened to some people using several different VPN providers, so there is no one answer I can give.

As one crusty old fellow I knew liked to say: “Go write a letter to your congressman.” Sarcasm aside, we all need to pressure lawmakers to change the laws, but this is not going to produce the desired results overnight.

If you are one of those who has been happily streaming movies over the internet and had your access blocked because your provider found out you fibbed about being in Mexico, likely the only thing you can do is to change your VPN provider and try again. There are many companies providing VPN services. A very good link to a dozen different VPN providers is found by pointing your web browser to If you were caught out using a VPN that made you appear to be in Miami, you could subscribe to another VPN that makes you appear to be in Dallas – then try convincing the content provider you now live there.

Unfortunately, there is still no guarantee that your deception will not be found out again, because the content providers do have ways to track you down and learn where you really live. This battle of technologies is much like the cartoon I saw once that pictured a driver speeding past a road sign that warned “Anti-Radar Radar Detectors detected by Anti-Radar Radar Detector Detectors.” That sums up the state of affairs, which exists between internet users who want to hide their IP address from those content providers wanting to know where their customers live.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044-415-101-8528 or email FAQ8 (at)


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