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  Reply # 624833 14-May-2012 13:21 Send private message

No established business is going to use an unmoderated group to give feedback on something like this. They needed good legal advice, few people here could have contributed.

gzt

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  Reply # 624880 14-May-2012 14:20 Send private message

FYX public statements have not been specific yet. It is unclear if they backed out due to:

- technical challenges (easy to block?)
- pressure from suppliers and/or partners
- legal threats
- legal advice

or some combination of the above.

I'd like to know :P) 

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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 624907 14-May-2012 14:59 Send private message

At a technical level, and assuming they were using the services of Unblock Us, it's not technically that easy to block.

There are folks who claim otherwise in this thread but it is basically an arms race and at a fundamental level the video providers are there to provide service to the public so there is little they can to do stop some sub-section of the public from access, whilst maintaining convenient service for the customers they want to have access.

Unblock Us roughly does the following (there may be other tricks they use for specific providers but this is the general case):

You configure your PC/router to use their DNS -- this is critical because it makes it easy to setup and easy to use; it also makes it trivial for an ISP like Fyx to deploy.

As your browser/player loads various video related hostnames the resolvers are programmed to respond with answers redirecting your browser to their proxies.  e.g. if the video provider is video.com (normally 1.2.3.4), and Unblock Us' has a proxy configured at 9.8.7.6, then the resolver will return 9.8.7.6.  Your browser will still connect to 9.8.7.6 and think it is talking to video.com, and 9.8.7.6 will proxy your request  to 1.2.3.4.  video.com sees your IP as 9.8.7.6 but your browser is otherwise making a "normal" request like any normal user would.

That's usually just a ticket to getting the actual stream URL which are often then served via CDNs.  At this point if the CDN also employs additional geographical restrictions further proxying of the stream will be needed - Unblock Us can decide this and hack it into their resolvers as necessary.  Otherwise the resolver can point you at a local CDN node and your browser can go direct.

So if you think about the touch points between Unblock Us and the video providers -- there's the DNS part and the proxy IPs.  Video providers could try to block both of these but with reasonable effort it's not hard to rotate these IPs around.  The DNS part is super easy; the proxy IPs might be trickier since they will be carrying significant traffic but given enough proxy IPs and the fact that there are so many on-demand cloud providers around now it's pretty easy to spin new proxy IPs up and down regularly to spread the load and avoid detection.

This is all just at the network layer.  Video providers could try to restrict things at the application layer, perhaps by implementing custom clients that force checks on SSL certs and so forth to prevent MITM.  That may work for a while but you'll quickly get back to the VPN game where some hacky routing + NAT can make you appear from the "right" IPs again.  An ISP (i.e. already in your network path) could implement that completely transparently to their users.

This is all just to say the technical side is pretty easily solved.  So the reasons for Fyx pulling global mode are most likely legal rather than technical.

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  Reply # 624918 14-May-2012 15:08 Send private message

networkn: No established business is going to use an unmoderated group to give feedback on something like this. They needed good legal advice, few people here could have contributed.


I don't think they needed legal advice beyond Fyx asking:

Do you think we will be threatened by the media companies due to this service that give people a way around their controls and do you think we should take the threat seriously? 

Geekzone answer: 

Yes, and definitely. 

You don't need to be a great legal brain to figure that out. 




Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

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  Reply # 624919 14-May-2012 15:09 Send private message

As far as I know they are not using unblock-us.com.

However, if one were to proxy customers, and those customers also wanted to use the unblock-us.com site, a little fly on the wall from those that know mentioned the trial accounts check a customers IP at the moment. Once that expires, that IP would not be able to sign-up for an unblock-us.com account.

There's pro's and con's to everything so there's bound to be the odd hickup like that when proxying any IP's.

But as I understand, there was a post earlier about pressure being put on the global mode service, and it didn't sound like a technical but rather legal thing.




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  Reply # 624920 14-May-2012 15:09 Send private message

My guess is that a local company made a legal threat. A foreign company doing it doesn't seem to add up, for example if Hulu complained then Fyx would likely just disable Hulu rather than everything. According to Stuff Sky didn't complain, so I wonder who it was...

Bee

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  Reply # 624921 14-May-2012 15:10 Send private message

On the positive side - their website has been completely updated with the new pricing etc... making them even more competitive!

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  Reply # 624922 14-May-2012 15:11 Send private message

Yah they dropped their pricing, indicating they have no plans to return to the original model.

gzt

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  Reply # 624925 14-May-2012 15:15 Send private message

So it's down to legal threats | pressure from suppliers or partners.

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  Reply # 624926 14-May-2012 15:19 Send private message

Of course :)

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  Reply # 624934 14-May-2012 15:28 Send private message

Behodar: My guess is that a local company made a legal threat. A foreign company doing it doesn't seem to add up, for example if Hulu complained then Fyx would likely just disable Hulu rather than everything. According to Stuff Sky didn't complain, so I wonder who it was...


It was Sky. 

Content on NZ screens + people complaining = Sky

Also

According to Stuff Not Equal what actually happened/ the truth 




Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?

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  Reply # 625065 14-May-2012 19:33

crackrdbycracku:
Behodar: My guess is that a local company made a legal threat. A foreign company doing it doesn't seem to add up, for example if Hulu complained then Fyx would likely just disable Hulu rather than everything. According to Stuff Sky didn't complain, so I wonder who it was...


It was Sky. 

Content on NZ screens + people complaining = Sky

Also

According to Stuff Not Equal what actually happened/ the truth 


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  Reply # 625077 14-May-2012 20:02 Send private message

goosmurf: At a technical level, and assuming they were using the services of Unblock Us, it's not technically that easy to block.

There are folks who claim otherwise in this thread but it is basically an arms race and at a fundamental level the video providers are there to provide service to the public so there is little they can to do stop some sub-section of the public from access, whilst maintaining convenient service for the customers they want to have access.

Unblock Us roughly does the following (there may be other tricks they use for specific providers but this is the general case):

You configure your PC/router to use their DNS -- this is critical because it makes it easy to setup and easy to use; it also makes it trivial for an ISP like Fyx to deploy.

As your browser/player loads various video related hostnames the resolvers are programmed to respond with answers redirecting your browser to their proxies.  e.g. if the video provider is video.com (normally 1.2.3.4), and Unblock Us' has a proxy configured at 9.8.7.6, then the resolver will return 9.8.7.6.  Your browser will still connect to 9.8.7.6 and think it is talking to video.com, and 9.8.7.6 will proxy your request  to 1.2.3.4.  video.com sees your IP as 9.8.7.6 but your browser is otherwise making a "normal" request like any normal user would.

That's usually just a ticket to getting the actual stream URL which are often then served via CDNs.  At this point if the CDN also employs additional geographical restrictions further proxying of the stream will be needed - Unblock Us can decide this and hack it into their resolvers as necessary.  Otherwise the resolver can point you at a local CDN node and your browser can go direct.

So if you think about the touch points between Unblock Us and the video providers -- there's the DNS part and the proxy IPs.  Video providers could try to block both of these but with reasonable effort it's not hard to rotate these IPs around.  The DNS part is super easy; the proxy IPs might be trickier since they will be carrying significant traffic but given enough proxy IPs and the fact that there are so many on-demand cloud providers around now it's pretty easy to spin new proxy IPs up and down regularly to spread the load and avoid detection.

This is all just at the network layer.  Video providers could try to restrict things at the application layer, perhaps by implementing custom clients that force checks on SSL certs and so forth to prevent MITM.  That may work for a while but you'll quickly get back to the VPN game where some hacky routing + NAT can make you appear from the "right" IPs again.  An ISP (i.e. already in your network path) could implement that completely transparently to their users.

This is all just to say the technical side is pretty easily solved.  So the reasons for Fyx pulling global mode are most likely legal rather than technical.


Ahem, My HTTPS connection to movies.netflix.com with a valid SSL cert and chain to GeoTrust would like a word with your theory, I use unblock.com and dont go via any proxy. I've seen streaming from IP's I can't confirm as the providers but also seen direct to CDN connection's and use SSL alot with these sites. 

But you are right, it's cat and mouse, hbo.com already requires a US cable sub to prove you are states side. Proxy or not FYX would have been blocked once it got to x size one way or another. After all content rights holders can't can't go around selling rights people in other countries when the country in question has geoblock bypass going on at an ISP level




Most problems are the result of previous solutions...

All comment's I make are my own personal opinion and do not in any way, shape or form reflect the views of current or former employers unless specifically stated 

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  Reply # 625083 14-May-2012 20:18 Send private message

Beccara:

Ahem, My HTTPS connection to movies.netflix.com with a valid SSL cert and chain to GeoTrust would like a word with your theory, I use unblock.com and dont go via any proxy. I've seen streaming from IP's I can't confirm as the providers but also seen direct to CDN connection's and use SSL alot with these sites.


Think about this from a user's POV -- if they're willing to use something like Unblock Us the chances of them caring that the SSL certificate is broken on a video stream are slim to none.  Certificate validity and chain of trust only means something if the end-user cares about it (and orthogonal to video streaming, given the number of people who get phished and the escalating attempts to convince users to care about cert validity via efforts like EV it's pretty obvious that is itself a lost battle).

That's why I mentioned a custom client as a one-up for the video providers -- they could force the end point to care on the user's behalf.  But that's still defeatable at the network layer via some routing & NAT hacks.  So then you move further up the application stack and play games with user registration, and you get middle men signing up on behalf of users.  You can then go down the path of complete control of hardware + software ala iOS and have fun with the jail breakers.  Granted none of this is intended to be fool proof, it's about cost of protection, and cost of (in)convenience.

Anyway we have strayed from the original point which is that Fyx's decision to pull global mode is a legal issue.

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  Reply # 625369 15-May-2012 11:13 Send private message

Lots of conspiracy theories going on here it seems. Sky deny strongly they took any action. If we believe them then possibly the content owners might have sent Fyx a polite note. It would not need a C&D order from a major US content provider to instill some fear into Fyx, just a politely worded email with "legal proceedings" mentioned somewhere :-(

Similarly it seems unlikely that Netflix or Hulu would have done anything either since they have no business loss from this capability unless major content owners told them to get their restrictions working properly or face some action.

But as been noted in this thread, there are other ways to achieve this and the upshot is, Fyx offers even cheaper broadband,  the savings from which for those who are interested in accessing overseas content, can be used to purchase those services.




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