Friday, June 8, 2007

No trespassing

While surfing on the web, looking for information about recent Australian movies, I ran into the following site:

This is the first time I've ever seen a case of explicit geographical discrimination on the Internet. In fact, I didn't even know it was technically feasible.


  1. This seems to be a very common issue. As I have no TV, every now and then, I buy/rent a movie or a documentary film on the national TV channels (France 2, France 3, Arte...).

    Sometimes my IP address is located in an "unknown country", usually Switzerland. I never understood how this is possible. Anyway…

    One day (I didn’t know anything about this IP problem at the time), I tried to buy a film on one of these channels. The answer was: "Cette vidéo est seulement disponible pour la France.", or something like this.

  2. I'm familiar with the annoying phenomenon of region codes, which means that, if friends in Australia were to send me a local commercially-produced DVD, I might not be able to play it on my French machine.

    The phenomenon of geographical discrimination in the case of an ordinary website is, as I say, new to me. Is it the same technical "solution" that might be adopted by a totalitarian government to make sure that citizens do not have access to undesirable web stuff? Probably not, because the "no trespassing" device associated with this Australian website is obviously implemented in the code of the website itself, on their own server, whereas the totalitarian approach would be implemented on the state-run node that receives data from the outside world. As you say, the Australian website would appear to analyze my IP [Internet Protocol] address, conclude that my poor little computer happens to be located beyond the geographical borders of the Sunburnt Country [see Dorothea McKellar] which, as everybody knows, is "girt by sea" [see Advance Australia Fair]. And so they prevent me from accessing their website.

    The thing that intrigues me is: Why would an Australian website wish to be consulted exclusively by people residing in Australia? I find that a weird idea. This prohibition appears to me as a case of rudeness that fails to respect the international concepts of so-called netiquette. But, what the hell! That's Australia...