User outrage over Netflix’s promise to crackdown on users who use virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy services to view out-of-country content is mounting in Europe, after hundreds of European subscribers took to Reddit to confirm their VPNs have been blocked.
On Monday, a Reddit user from Spain posted a comment expressing their frustration over Netflix blocking their VPN service without warning.
“I’m personally considering cancelling my Netflix subscription since 90% of the content I watch isn’t available in my country,” read the comment.
“We all knew Netflix is against the use of VPNs but until now it was possible (and very easy) to use one without trouble.”
Hundreds of European users – including those in Belgium, Germany and the UK – have since commented on the post adding they too have also lost access to their Netflix accounts after the streaming service blocked their VPN provider.
Netflix has been taking more aggressive action to block VPN providers since January, after announcing a crackdown on the practice in January.
Users around the world commonly use VPN services to stream Netflix movies and TV shows available in the United States and other countries to access a wider variety of content that isn’t available in their market. But this violates the company’s distribution deals with major studios and content providers, which are negotiated on a regional basis.
In February, PayPal cutoff payment services to Canadian VPN company UnoTelly, stating that the company’s services are against PayPal’s policies because they help users get around copyright restrictions.
Australian Netflix subscribers have been complaining about blocked VPN services since January.
But some users argue that the move is unfair to those who use VPN services as a means of privacy, or for work.
The crackdown also presents concerns for European users living abroad and can’t access the subtitles for their native language.
“I think Netflix is overestimating the need of local subtitles especially in Northern Europe, where people are more or less fluent in English anyway. The use of VPN’s might not be that much to get around exclusive content for some countries, but to instead fix something [that] seems like a bad design choice and lack of understanding of their own audience,” wrote one Reddit user.
“As a Dane living in Germany I can only chose German subtitles. So speaking Danish, hearing English audio and reading German subtitles is completely unviable. If that geoblocking continues to be effective I am off,” wrote another.
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