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Netflix Can’t Block VPN Users

The company hasn’t changed its policy on blocking VPN users


Apparently, Netflix appeared to have hefty financial incentive not to block members using VPN services. The matter is that over 30 million of its subscribers live in countries where Netflix is actually unavailable if not for the use of location-masking software. This is how many people have to opt for the technological loophole to watch material not licensed for their country.

According to statistics, the streaming video provider has over 20 million users in China alone, although Netflix has not yet launched in that country. This means that all those users have to connect via VPNs. However, not every Netflix “user” is a subscriber to the service, because many people watch it at a friend’s house or share a username with others. A few months ago, Netflix had 16 million international members, which is far less than the total number of users of the service. Anyway, the service won’t block large levels of traffic coming from outside their official countries, as it still earns money from it.

And Netflix has already denied the claims that it has changed its policy on VPN, though it can’t officially welcome VPN users either, because its fraught relationship with content providers hinges on them enforcing international restrictions. People who had troubles with accessing the service via VPNs were told that nothing has changed in Netflix policy.

In the meantime, the recent hack of the Sony Pictures movie studio showed just how much Hollywood studios care about VPN usage, because emails from 2013 showed a Sony executive complaining that Netflix fails to closely monitor where some of its subscribers are registering from. Beside, Netflix was accused of taking no steps to tackle circumvention websites that allow users to subscribe illegally. Australia and South Africa were mentioned as countries with high Netflix penetration despite absence of legal Netflix services. The statistics show that 5% of online users in those nations used Netflix in December 2014.

It is believed that accessing better entertainment content is the most common reason for using virtual private networks. Besides, accessing social networks is big in such regions as China. Finally, quite a lot of people use them to hide their identity, especially in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

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