An online petition demanding Netflix change its policy on blocking users with VPNs from accessing geo restricted content has been signed by more than 38,000 people.
Previously, some users had been using what is called a virtual private network (VPN), a tool which allows you to mask the location of your computer, to access content on Netflix that would otherwise be blocked. For example, Netflix users in Australia would set their VPN location to the United States to access content available on the US version Netflix.
However, around the same time Netflix launched in 130 countries worldwide, the company began to block users who use a VPN to access its content from overseas.
Netflix has come in for fierce criticism since it announced the crackdown, which is believed to be the result of mounting pressure from content license holders, who make money being able to sell their TV shows abroad.
Initially, Netflix started blocking VPNs from Australia, although, the impact on users was short lived and the crackdown ineffective.
However, just a week ago it appeared the the company had more success in blocking VPN users from Europe who were trying to access content in its US library.
A Reddit thread confirmed that users in mainland Europe started to receive an error message when trying to access Netflix.
It seems that the company had been blocking anyone who was using a VPN, regardless of whether it was being used to block people watching content they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Critics have said that by Netflix blocking VPNs many innocent customers have been affected – customers who use VPNs for security purposes, for example.
This new online petition states that as well as paying users being treated unfairly, a crackdown “undermines customers’ privacy” and would push “users to illegal alternatives”, an idea that has been recently backed up by a recent survey.
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.