According to reports, tens of thousands of people have signed a petition against Netflix’s imposition of restrictions on VPNs and other privacy protection services that clients are using to access its programs from foreign countries. This move of Netflix places constraints in the way in which customers can use the Netflix service and their argument is that all customers are to be treated the same. This ban would essentially put rightful customers into a difficult spot as far as accessing the services are concerned, clients complained.
VPNs essentially can help a client to spoof their original address and get access to the libraries in another country. All these can be done by concealing their identity and in a secure manner. The crackdown on VPNs was, however, thought to be a concession for those rightsholders that make an income by selling TV shows and movies in the different countries. However, Netflix in its earlier statements said that it would get rid of geographical and region based licenses so that the same content was made available to subscribers in different parts of the world.
VPNs – The Ban and Petition
Netflix claimed that the ban was imposed as a response to the mounting pressure from content license holders that have sold TV shows to them. The company is bound to protect their intellectual property rights.
Netflix has content that varies by countries and regions. This is due to the licensing deals that are given for movies and TV shows. Earlier this year, Netflix had announced that it would prevent customers from accessing content through VPNs in all places except the UAE. According to company sources, the content licensing by virtue of geographical location would continue till the company can afford to offer all their programs globally. They also stated that actions are being taken to bring this into effect at the earliest.
Though everyone concerned initially thought that the supposed restrictions would not mean much, the company has since banned many users for having used VPNs. The petition expresses fears that such a move would make customers that pay up for the service feel more restricted about using the service on their own terms and also undermines the privacy that is sought by them.
It is widely felt that the Netflix ban on VPNs may push users to try illegal alternatives. Though Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told the investors that the ban would not seriously affect the number of Netflix subscribers, surveys have pointed out that users would choose pirated content if they cannot access the content through legitimate methods. It is estimated that over 38,000 people have signed the petition against Netflix’s ban on VPNs.
Netflix users in the UAE have been complaining of being not able to access catalog content in the US and UK when they opt for it. This has left many users frustrated with some of them even quitting the service. The process of blocking VPNs by Netflix started with users in Australia. However, the wave lasted only for a short while. This was because the Australian VPN company uFlix found out a method to sidestep the ban.
Earlier, Netflix saw to it that users of VPNs in Europe were kept away from the service content. Subscribers in countries such as Spain, the Czech Republic, UK, Germany and Belgium said the ban was the biggest once since its beginning as users were threatened with the ban even when they used it for privacy purposes. This issue came to light when a bunch of Reddit users claimed that they saw an error message when they tried to access Netflix content through VPNs.
VPNs can be used to spoof locations and they provide a secure means of surfing the web. The generated Internet traffic is sent through other public networks that exist, which helps to anonymize browsing.
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