2016/09/02

Channel 4 in France

Slight obsession some would say, but I enjoy F1... not that much that I'm prepared to pay Sky whatever extortionate fee they're come up with today though so I tend to watch the highlights only on C4. Nice coverage btw guys - shame to lose you next year.

Anyway, I have a VPN (OpenVPN) running off a Synology DiskStation to allow me to tunnel through home when I'm abroad. Works a treat... normally. Channel 4 does not.

Initially I thought it was DNS leakage picking up that name resolution is from french servers. You can see this by visiting www.dnsleaktest.com and running the "standard test". Even though I'm reported as being in the UK, all my DNS servers are in France... Humm, I smell a fish...

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 12.30.40 Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 12.30.51

Am I in the UK or France?

To work around this I setup a proxy server on the DiskStation and the same test now reports UK DNS servers as everything goes through the proxy.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 14.53.35

Definitely looks like I'm in the UK... But still no luck on C4...

Finally, I set the timezone I was in to UK rather than France and this seemed to do the trick. Note that you need to change the timezone on the laptop, not the time itself or you'll have all sorts of trouble connecting securely to websites including C4.

In the end, the proxy doesn't seem necessary so they don't appear to be picking up on DNS resolution yet though it's the sort of thing that they could look at adding (that, and device geolocation using HTML5 geo API  though for this there are numerous plugins for browsers to report fake locations).

Incidentally, BBC iPlayer works fine and does so without fiddling with timezone.

The net wasn't really designed to expose your physical location and IP to location lookups such as MaxMind are more of a workaround than truly identifying your location. Using TOR as a more elaborate tunnel makes you appear to be all over the place as your IP address jumps around and corporate proxies; especially for large organisations, can make you appear to be in all sorts of weird places. Makes you wonder.. All these attempts to limit your access based on an IP address to prop up digital rights management just doesn't work. It's all too easy to work-around.

p.s. Turns out that whilst France doesn't have free-to-air F1 coverage, most places have some form of satellite TV via CanalSat or TNT which includes the German RTL channel. It'll do nothing to improve my French but at least I get to watch the race on the big screen...

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