Complementary Reading: “Introduction: The New Video Geography.”
In the introduction of Ramon Lobato’s book, Geoblocking and Global Video Culture, he covered a lot of different topics regarding geoblocking. He defines it as “a spatially-aware filtering technology that uses IP address databases to determine a user’s location ” (Lobato, 10). He talks about the different platforms such as Youtube, Facebook and many more that use these sorts of technologies, to regulate what people can see depending on their location. This results in most people having access to the internet, however very different kinds of internet. This sort of technology is mainly used in order to restrict certain kinds of content from being viewed in certain countries around the world.
The intro goes into how people have found ways to go around these geoblockings. Things such as VPNs are the most popular ways of going around these restrictions. Lobato says that these have “unleashed a wave of unauthorized cross-border media activity, allowing audiences to easily access streaming, news and sports services from other countries” (Lobato, 11).
In the intro, the book is broken into three main parts, the first being “Blockage and Flow”, he says that “ For many internet users, the experience of online video is characterized by blockage rather than flow.” (Lobato, 12). He explains that this is a result of each countries’ different policies. Each time you see the message “the video is not available in your region” it is often a result of copyright issues, or country policies. Even though this may be rare in North American some countries see this message more often than not.
The second main part of the book is “Control and Circumvention”, he expresses the ways in which the government tries to control the internet and the relationship that has with, “circumvention – the tactics, tools and work-arounds that people use to access blocked video sites.” (Lobato, 14).
The third theme in this book is “the relationship between commercial technologies of access control and government site blocking, surveillance and censorship.” (Lobato, 18). Here he discusses more of the perspective of the user and the fact that these technologies are used in very different ways, and that even though seen as a crime in many countries people often use VPNs simply to communicate with friends abroad or to watch a foreign show.
Even though I only read the intro of this book it seems to be incredibly interesting and gives information about a topic I assume many are unaware of.
Lobato, Roman. Geoblocking and Global Video Culture. Institute of Network Cultures,
Knowing that the government is able to see what we do as well as control what we see, do you believe that in today’s society it is possible to to say that our opinions and beliefs are truly ours, or are they affected by the government?
With the development of things such as VPNs to get around geoblocking, do you think that technologies will eventually come to protect ourselves from unwanted surveillance? Maybe sunglasses that don’t allow cameras to recognize you? (I know kind of a stretch)