<videovortex> Hands off my Netflix

Meghan Sali contact at openmedia.org
Fri Jan 29 18:01:34 CET 2016

I’ll admit it—I love a good Netflix binge to unwind after a long week.

Unfortunately, it looks like we're being forced to choose between Netflix and our privacy: Netflix has begun blocking paying customers who are using privacy-protecting services like virtual private networks (VPNs).1,2

The move comes in response to pressure from Big Media giants,3 whose current business model depends on controlling every aspect of online video streaming, geoblocking us from our favourite content, and corralling us into unaffordable TV contracts and bundles.4

The problem is that Netflix’s action has the potential to seriously undermine people’s effective use of pro-privacy technology like VPNs.5

So today, we’re trying something a little different from our usual OpenMedia petitions pointed at governments and regulators: We’re asking Netflix to stand up for their privacy-minded customers and not block VPN access.

Netflix is now in 190 countries, many of which have intrusive state Internet surveillance, mass internet censorship, or no Net Neutrality protections— issues that Internet users can mitigate with VPNs.

For millions of Netflix customers, VPNs are the best way to protect their browsing privacy from government spies and insecure networks, or to bypass unfair ISP connection-throttling that slows their video stream to a crawl.6

And, to answer a common question, using a VPN to view content unavailable in your home country isn’t illegal.

We realize some people are doing this, prompting frustration from Big Media giants who call it “stealing,” or piracy.7 But their preferred “solution”— blocking VPN access to legitimate services like Netflix— only hurts paying fans and actually pushes people to piracy if that content isn’t available in their country.

Hurting customers’ privacy is not the best way forward, and neither is geo-blocking fans who go out of their way to pay and support artists.

Tell Netflix to support its customers’ privacy and work with the Internet community to find a better way forward. <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=0%2FMXX68UZoFpCqFYBprQMBZ%2BuVAddy0y>
Millions of Internet users pay for streaming video because we can watch on our own terms, while paying to support the creators behind our favourite movies and shows. You’ve overwhelmingly told us it’s a top priority,8 and that’s why we need you to speak up today.

Thanks for speaking out,

Meghan, on behalf of your OpenMedia team

P.S., Internet users shouldn’t have to consult a lawyer or give up their privacy to legally watch and support online video. The future of the Internet as a place for sharing, communication, and business is being shaped now. Support OpenMedia today <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=Fnss8o2pJczdsTB1bBJBXBZ%2BuVAddy0y> so we can continue amplifying your voices. 

P.P.S., Want to learn more? Read my blog post <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=yQA2P%2BxNSisWVu879B854hZ%2BuVAddy0y> about this issue.


[1] Netflix to block proxy access to content not available locally. Source. The Globe and Mail <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=33331NqsBxukSDYwf5%2Fa%2BhZ%2BuVAddy0y>.
[2] Netflix’s VPN Ban Isn’t Good for Anyone—Especially Netflix. Source: Wired <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2BZgKmjoC6OiXnYXU2ZF0QBZ%2BuVAddy0y>.
[3],[7] Accessing U.S. Netflix is ‘stealing,’ new Bell Media president says. Source: The Globe and Mail <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=NtJad9o1Wd%2BYybpP9kQZPxZ%2BuVAddy0y>.
[4] Geo-blocking is an attempt to preserve an older business model. Source: Toronto Star <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=YpZ8y%2Bd%2BsqBuQhNjLmKE0RZ%2BuVAddy0y>.
[5] What’s a VPN? They’re a secure, private way to connect to the Internet to help keep your online activity private, bypass censorship, and avoid throttling. More at Wikipedia <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=YKAoNzE%2FM2sZMtwwtW3zCk8clPdUMMFc>.
[6] Bypass Your ISP's Throttling of Netflix or Other Videos with a VPN. Source: Lifehacker <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=deWS3UGoT3QlIay8Q5SCzxZ%2BuVAddy0y>
[8] Our Digital Future. Source: OpenMedia <http://qb.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=Kqtqj%2FYCY%2BnAtdzIoH%2BNbhZ%2BuVAddy0y>

We are an award-winning network of people and organizations working to safeguard th possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy. 


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