Services like Netflix and Amazon are pretty adept at detecting when a user is using a VPN to view geo-restricted content. Most of time, the strategy for doing so is to keep a list of known IP addresses for VPN endpoints and restrict content coming from those address ranges. It does require a bit of work on the service provider to track down those IP addresses and keep that up to date.
In a bout of insomnia, I had a fun thought: when you connect to a VPN, the user typically doesn't change the computer's timezone to match the VPN. When you're getting around content, there's a solid chance the country whose geo-restricted content you're trying to view is in a different time zone.
What if you could compare the IP timezone to the computer timezone to detect when people did this?
There are a couple (HUGE) caveats:
All of these caveats were made pretty clear to me when I posted the idea to Hacker News:
Needless to say, it wasn't too well received 😅
While it may have seemed like a failure there are two nuggets of learning in there:
For an idea that came about from insomnia and a couple minutes of spare time, I'm pretty happy with what I learned from it! Happy reminder to build out those random ideas that spring to mind (or at least write 'em down for a time you can play with the idea).