How do I trick the BBC to think I am in the UK?
August 21, 2005 8:09 AM   Subscribe

The BBC streams football online, BUT only to the UK. How do I trick it to think I am in the UK when I am overseas?
posted by priorpark17 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Find a friend with UK broadband who will run a proxy server for you. The socks protocol is your best bet.

If your friend is running Windows, grab Freeproxy. For unix/OSX, the SGI one works great.
posted by quiet at 8:27 AM on August 21, 2005

There are a couple ways they could implement this. If they do a reverse DNS on your IP, and you have control over the RDNS (unlikely if you're using a consumer-level ISP), you could set the RDNS for your IP to something like "".

If they have a set of IP addresses that they believe are in the UK, and yours isn't one of them, there is no way to "trick" their server into thinking it is (and get data back from it ;). The only solution is as quiet says; to have a machine that IS one of the valid IPs act as a repeater.

You might be able to fake them out by sending them an email with your IP, and claiming you're in the UK, hoping they turn it on without actually checking. IP to country mapping tables are imperfect, and they probably know this.
posted by trevyn at 8:39 AM on August 21, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice. I have a better idea how it works now. Am I right in thinking that If I use an anonymous web server the BBC will not be able to see where I am? I have accessed the stream via the cloak and it works. But today i am in the UK and so it would work anyway. BTW Chelsea just scored.
posted by priorpark17 at 9:40 AM on August 21, 2005

trevyn, the reverse DNS thing is bollocks. No sysadmin worth his salt will rely on that. And if you sent me an email saying you're in country X, when in fact you're not, I'd tell you to shove it.

Since about 2001, there have been plenty of IP-to-location-mapping services coming on to the market. I've seen impartial stats mentioned that they are 99% accurate by country, 90% by state/province/etc, and 75% accurate by city. In fact, the widespread availability of these services was pivotal in the French high court ruling against Yahoo! a few years ago, because it was shown to be very feasible for Yahoo! to accurately block internet users in France from browsing Nazi memorabilia.

The proxy server solution as mentioned by quiet is the way to go, e.g. through pay services such as Anonymizer.
posted by randomstriker at 9:54 AM on August 21, 2005

Just to clarify, randomstriker, there are so many ways for IP-to-location mapping to be wrong that I'm not sure I'd ever want to rely on it as a service provider. For example:

- user is in country A using an network connection provided over a dedicated line that terminates in country B, and the network's connection to the internet originates from country B. The user will falsely appear to be in country B. (This is actually not all that uncommon; it's frequently cheaper and/or easier to manage for a large company to run dedicated, high-bandwidth lines from satellite offices back to the main office and then provide internet access only from the main office.)
- user is in country A, using a local internet connection, is connected to a VPN server in country B, and is using a VPN which does not support split tunnelling. The user will falsely appear to be in country B. (Again, this is a pretty common way of operation for many mid-size and large companies.)
- user is in country A, and is using dialup internet access to country B. The user will falsely appear to be in country B.

So you're right that the services exist and are getting better, but I'd say that they're more useful for purely informational purposes, and less useful to enforce some sort of geographic restrictions. Using them for the latter is likely to annoy users who might be paying for services and are then incorrectly restricted from receiving them.
posted by delfuego at 11:03 AM on August 21, 2005

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