In January, Netflix announced that it would begin cracking down on those using VPNs, proxies, DNS changers, and other “unblockers” to watch content not available in their region. At first, not many took the company’s claims seriously, but now it seems that Netflix is stepping up its game.
After the initial announcement, a handful of VPN users found themselves unable to access Netflix, but plenty of VPNs were available to take the place of those that were blocked. Some VPN providers even boasted that they could easily get around any new measures that Netflix put in place.
Over the weekend however, a large number of users found themselves newly blocked. A thread started on Reddit by a handful of users quickly grew in size, with users from a number of countries in Europe reporting that they are now unable to access the service.
Belgium, Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic are among the European countries in which users are no longer able to access Netflix via VPN. The number of services blocked and the countries affected continued to increase, and the comment thread accordingly grew in size, and what services remain usable isn’t currently clear.
These new blocks led to some users vowing to cancel their subscriptions, with others saying they’d simply pirate content instead of watching via Netflix. Other users pointed out that they were using VPNs for privacy or security, and were blocked from watching content in their own country.
The use of VPNs has always been against Netflix’s terms of service, but with the company’s recent expansion of the territories in which it offers its service, this marks the first time that the firm has actively enforced those terms. Many of the affected users point out that they’re still paying for the service, and blocking them amounts to losing a customer.
Earlier this month, Netflix gained unexpected help in its fight against VPNs, with PayPal cutting off its payment services to VPN provider UnoTelly, saying its service “may not be used to send or receive payments for items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy, or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction.”