45,000 People Petition Netflix to Allow VPNs

A petition by a digital rights group, asking Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to cease the company’s VPN crackdown, has been signed by 44,446 people. OpenMedia has sent a letter to Hastings, with the near-45k signatures attached, making the case that not all VPN users are using such services to bypass region locks, but are rather protecting their privacy.

“Watching quality content, and knowing that creators are being compensated in the process is great. But we also love our privacy. And lately, as your subscribers, you just haven’t been treating us well,” the letter reads (via TorrentFreak). “This is a huge problem for our privacy ­conscious supporters, who use VPNs as an essential, user­ friendly tool to protect their privacy in a post ­Snowden world.”

While OpenMedia acknowledges that Netflix has to protect its region locks as a matter of contractual obligation with content providers, the organisation asks if the streaming on-demand service can find another way of enforcing its geographical restrictions.

“We are not unreasonable,” the letter continues. “We do understand that you have contractual obligations to the rights­holders whose content you distribute. But we believe that there are better ways for you to respect creators, and enforce your geographic restrictions and contractual obligations than by outright blocking your privacy conscious customers from using your service.”

The letter concludes with an invitation for Hastings, or another Netflix representative, to discuss the matter further. “We hope that you will consider the needs and privacy of the millions of Internet users around the world who value your service,” it reads, “by demonstrating that you are open to new and innovative solutions – the very root of what Netflix was founded on.”

Ashley Allen

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