Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition against Netflix's ban on unblockers.
The site is instituting a crackdown on people who use virtual private networks (VPNs) — a tool that allows people to spoof their location and get access to other country's libraries, but also to secure their browsing. But a new petition argues that doing so could make "innocent customers" into "collateral damage", and that the site should reverse the block.
Netflix is thought to have instituted the ban as a way of appeasing rightsholders, who make money by selling TV shows and films into different countries. The site has regularly said that it would rather avoid such restrictions by getting rid of geographically-limited licenses entirely, and make all content available to everybody.
Many initially thought that the site's promise to launch a crackdown would amount to little. But they appear to already be working, with the company banning many users for using VPNs entirely.
The new petition says that the ban could "would block paying customers from using the service on their own terms, undermine customers’ privacy, and push users to illegal alternatives". It claims that the block will stop people who use VPNs for other purposes from watching content they pay for and threaten privacy.
Netflix appears to be blocking users based on whether they are using a VPN at all, rather than whether or not it is being used to access other content.
While VPNs are a popular way of spoofing a location, they are also an important security tool for many people. Since they work by sending internet traffic through other networks, they can be an important way of anonymising browsing or keeping it from being spied on.
The petition claims that many people who use VPNs on Netflix will be doing so for those reasons, rather than because they are trying to cheat the service. As such, the company could end up banning people from watching content that they legitimately should have access to, the signatories claim.
Netflix originals to look forward to in 2016
Netflix originals to look forward to in 2016
1/14 House of Cards - Season Four - 4 March
Last time we were in Frank Underwood’s White House things weren’t looking to great for the President, his first Lady having just walked out on him. What will happen next in the critically acclaimed show is anyone’s guess.
2/14 Daredevil - Season Two - 18 March
Back in Hell’s Kitchen things were seemingly getting better. Kingpin is in prison and the crime syndicates should have dispersed - for the meantime at least. Unfortunately for Matt Murdoch, there’s a new anti-hero in town: The Punisher.
3/14 Flaked - 11 March
According to Netflix, Flaked is set in the insular world of Venice, California. It follows the “serio-comic story of a self-appointed 'guru' who falls for the object of his best friend’s fascination. Soon the tangled web of half-truths and semi-b******* that underpins his all-important image and sobriety begins to unravel. Arnett plays Chip, a man doing his honest best to stay one step ahead of his own lies.
4/14 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two - 15 April
Following the story of 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt on her journey through New York, season two is set to start right where the last left us. The Tina Fey created sitcom has already been renewed for a third season, so you know this one has to be good.
5/14 The Ranch - 1 April
A comedy starring Ashton Kutcher. Based on a failed semi-pro footballer who returns home to a Colorado ranch. It also has some of the producers from Two and a Half Men behind it, which just happens to be one of the most successful shows of all time.
6/14 Marseille - 5 May
Netflix’s first French language original is a tale of ‘power, corruption and redemption’. Sounding like it could very well be the next Narcos.
7/14 Grace and Frankie - Season Two - 6 May
The tale of a retired cosmetics mogul and a hippie art teacher living together was a hit across the world, especially in the US. Starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, the show has already been renewed for a third season.
8/14 Orange is the New Black - Season Four - 17 June
Another Netflix powerhouse, Orange is the New Black will see us returning to Litchfield Penitentiary. Prepare for more Piper, Alex and Red come June.
9/14 Stranger Things - 15 July
Eight-episode series starring Winona Ryder that follows a small community as they look for a young boy who has seemingly vanished. It all sounds quite scary.
10/14 The Get Down - August 12th
"Told through the lives and music of a ragtag crew of South Bronx teens, The Get Down is a mythic saga of the transformation of 1970s New York City.” Directed by Baz Luhrmann, this is sure to be as stylish as anything he’s done before.
11/14 The Crown - Spring
Starring Doctor Who actor Matt Smith, the period drama ”reveals the political rivalries and romance behind Queen Elizabeth II's reign and the events that shaped the 2nd half of the 20th century."
12/14 Luke Cage - Fall 2016
First appearing alongside Jessica Jones in her Netflix series, Luke Cage will pic up the pieces, seeing Cage come to terms with his super-strength and impenetrable skin. It is unknown whether Kathryn.
13/14 Narcos - Season 2 - Fall 2016
It’s back. The Netflix series hyped to match Breaking Bad was an astounding success around the world, apparently watched more than Game of Thrones. We’ll find out what happens to Pablo Escabar now he doesn’t have the protection of all his men.
14/14 A Series of Unfortunate Events - Fall 2016
Netflix is set to revisit the much-loved children’s novel, putting Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf in a show that looks so much creepier than the 2004 film. Not much else is known - i.e. casting - but Lemony Snicket is on board as executive producer, so get excited.
"Want to access domestic Netflix while using a VPN to protect your privacy? Sorry, too bad," they write. "It's Netflix, or privacy – you can't have both."Reuse content