OpenMedia Petition Sees 35,000+ Protest Netflix VPN Crackdown

A recent petition launched by digital rights advocacy group OpenMedia has now garnered over 35,000 signatures, urging Netflix to “not block pro-privacy VPN technology.”

The petition says large media conglomerates are “pressuring” Netflix to block their customers from accessing geo-restricted content outside of their home country, which means user privacy is undermined and while it pushes users “to illegal alternatives.”

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Back in January, Netflix announced it would block proxy access and “respect and enforce” licensing by location. Despite Netflix CEO Reed Hastings saying nothing much will change, users have seen their favourite VPN providers starting to get blocked from accessing Netflix, seeing “Whoops, something went wrong” streaming errors.

Moreover, PayPal appears to be involved in a proxy war against VPN users, as it has cut payment services off to numerous VPN providers.

OpenMedia spokesperson David Christopher told TorrentFreak “Privacy is a huge priority for us as a digital rights organization, and that VPNs are probably the simplest, most user-friendly way for everyday Internet users to safeguard their online activities.”

Meanwhile on Reddit, numerous users in Europe are noting some of their VPN services no longer work with Netflix.

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens set to stream exclusively in Canada on Netflix this year, you can bet Disney wants the streaming service to lock down its users ahead of the launch.

You can visit the OpenMedia petition here, which currently stands at 35,644 signatures.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Trenchanting

    Of course are media conglomerates pressuring Netflix to block their customers from accessing geo-restricted content outside of their home country, they need to secure their various revenue streams from territory to territory.

    Of course Netlix doesn’t really care as they still get their subscription fee, regardless if the subscriber uses VPN or not. The only reason they care is because they want to keep their suppliers happy.

    Netflix isn’t really undermining privacy, it has a right to verify that the right Netflix library is accessed from the right territory.

    The content providers are indeed shooting themselves potentially in the foot by driving consumers to torrent content that would otherwise be available through Netflix/VPN. Even though content providers are still not maximizing their return with either option, one could argue that watching Netflix via VPN is less harmful for the industry than torrents.

    All the petition is pointing out is that the current (exclusive) content rights model based on territories is hopelessly outdated.

  • KIII

    VPN for US Netflix was cut off here for the last week.

  • Tim Stewart

    I wasn’t using my VPN provider for accessing out of region Netflix, but apparently PayPal decided that all VPN providers are copyright violation facilitators (even though it would actually be regional content distribution agreement circumvention) and I got a notice that my provider said that PayPal cut them off. Maybe some used it for that, I know it would have worked, but some like myself used it for security and privacy reasons.

    Now I have to either give my CC info to another company or not use a VPN. PayPal deciding to be the heavy for Netflix and cutting off a payment avenue is certainly frustrating since it’s painting a whole class of service as infringing.

    As to Netflix blocking VPN connections, they have to protect their deals and I’m sure the ones with the house of mouse being a major factor.

  • aaron

    Looks like you can add USAccess to the list

  • Michal

    It’s pretty simple for me – no US netflix = no subscription fee.

  • Tim

    “With Star Wars: The Force Awakens set to stream exclusively in Canada on Netflix this year, you can bet Disney wants the streaming service to lock down its users ahead of the launch.”

    it doesn’t matter of Netflix locks it down, someone will rip it and it will be on torrent sites the same day

  • noodles

    It will likely be on torrent sites even before then

  • Parksy

    I’m likely going to jinx myself for saying it, but I’ve yet to experience any issues with my current DNS blocker. I have been using the UK Netflix regularly without any issues for years. I generally stay away from the US version though so that might be helping me.

  • Trenchanting

    Netflix knows that, that’s why it’s trying to secure world rights for all the content it licenses.

  • skydivertak

    UnoTelly, a Canadian VPN service, has been forced to change it’s policy and to indicate that it can only be used for privacy protection. At the same time, their Filmefy.com site, which showed you what Netflix region you could view a show, appears to be shut down.

  • Widohmaker

    I haven’t had any issue with accessing US Netflix thorough my VPN provider.