Thousands of people have signed a petition after Netflix began blocking those using virtual private networks (VPNs), proxy servers or unblocker tools to access content outside of the territory. The petition states the block should be reversed because customers of Netflix would become collateral damage when VPNs are blocked.
The company's new move comes in the light of licensing content by geographic location. David Fullagar, vice president of content delivery architecture at Netflix said, "We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy. That's the goal we will keep pushing towards."
Netflix is believed to have imposed a ban on VPNs in an attempt to appease rightsholders who sell copyrighted TV shows and movies in different countries. Although the crackdown was thought to have very little impact, the company later on appeared to be successfully blocking all VPNs and unblockers from its server.
The petition, according to a report by the Independent, states the ban "could block paying customers from using the service on their own terms, undermine customers' privacy, and push users to illegal alternatives." It further adds the ban will prevent those who use VPNs for other purposes from watching content they pay for. By blocking VPNs, the company could end up blocking people watching content they should have legitimate access to.
The petition suggests those who use VPNs will be doing so for reasons other than to cheat the service. "Want to access domestic Netflix while using a VPN to protect your privacy? Sorry, too bad. It's Netflix, or privacy — you can't have both," said the signatory.