Netflix has started blocking access to its content for customers who use privacy protection services such as virtual private networks (VPNs) to access programs from abroad. This decision has left the majority of users furious, resulting in an online petition against the decision that demands a change in the policy. More than 38,000 people have already signed it.
Usage of VPNs allows customers to trick Netflix’s servers into mistaking their location, and thus, they are able to view content that is not otherwise available in their territory. Different licensing deals for TV shows and movies bring about a difference in the Netflix content that’s available from country to country.
Earlier this year, the video streaming giant said it would make sure subscribers are not able to use VPNs to access accounts in all territories, except the UAE. Whenever Netflix users in the UAE try to access their account using a catalog available only in the U.S. and the U.K., they are redirected to the UAE site. This left users frustrated, and they took to social media to express their anger.
Some users complained that they are unable to watch the latest season of House of Cards. One of the users who found that his account had been blocked, tweeted: “Bye bye, Netflix.”
Netflix aims to offer all programming globally
In January, Netflix Vice President David Fullagar said the company is following its historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories for now, and therefore, the TV shows and movies it is offering differ to varying degrees by territory. In the meantime, the streaming firm will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location, the executive said.
“Ultimately, the goal is to provide a service around the world that is more similar than not. Until we can offer all our programming globally, we have to deal with the reality of territorial licensing. We’re moving as quickly as we can,” said Joris Evers, Netflix’s vice president for communications.
Australia is the country from where the process of blocking VPNs started, but the duration of this wave was too short and proved to be ineffective overall because Australian VPN company uFlix found a way around it. However, Netflix did succeed in keeping VPN users out in Europe.