- Man dragged for recording, posting video of neighbor being ‘killed’ instead of helping Saturday 4:14 PM
- How to stream Saints vs. Bears in Week 7 Saturday 3:25 PM
- How to stream Seahawks vs. Ravens in Week 7 Saturday 3:25 PM
- Are TikTok teens throwing up gang signs in their videos? Saturday 2:45 PM
- Anti-impeachment protesters believe ‘deep state’ tried to sabotage rally Saturday 12:51 PM
- How to stream 49ers vs. Redskins in Week 7 Saturday 12:00 PM
- How to stream Cardinals vs. Giants in Week 7 Saturday 12:00 PM
- How to stream Packers vs. Raiders in Week 7 Saturday 12:00 PM
- How to stream Vikings vs. Lions in Week 7 Saturday 12:00 PM
- How to stream Rams vs. Falcons in Week 7 Saturday 12:00 PM
- Billie Eilish fans think they figured out who stole her ring Saturday 11:32 AM
- ‘Give me candy’: Hailey Bieber mocked for defense of celebrating Halloween as a Christian Saturday 10:28 AM
- Aaron Paul predicted Jesse Pinkman’s fate on Reddit years ago Saturday 8:53 AM
- Netflix’s ‘Eli’ is a satisfyingly nasty blend of haunted houses and medical horror Saturday 7:00 AM
- Why 8chan’s founder is fighting to keep the infamous message board dead Saturday 6:30 AM
A digital privacy group is protesting Netflix‘s geolocation-based streaming restrictions with a message the company can’t ignore.
OpenMedia signaled its displeasure by setting up a mobile billboard across from the company’s headquarters in Los Gatos, California, on Wednesday. The billboard, which followed the group’s petition protesting Netflix’s ban against VPNs, carried the message “Defend our Privacy.”
“Right now, Netflix customers are being forced to choose between watching their favorite shows and safeguarding their privacy,” Laura Tribe, OpenMedia’s digital rights specialist, said in a statement. “Our mobile billboard is one more way we’re working to encourage Netflix to rethink their approach. The company has much better options available to it, than undermining the privacy of over 80 million paying Netflix customers in the post-Snowden world.”
OpenMedia’s petition has amassed more than 47,000 signatures.
Netflix’s international viewers often use a VPN to bypass the company’s regional content restrictions. The practice is so prevalent that Netflix cracked down on VPNs earlier this year. But that ban has sparked protests among Netflix users and many digital-rights groups, all of whom argue that, by banning VPNs, Netflix is making things unnecessarily difficult for users who value their privacy.
sigh… who knows a good, working way to bypass netflix’s geoblocking bullshit
— clau (@liaratsonis) May 22, 2016
But further obstacles lie ahead for VPN proponents. The European Commission issued a draft proposal on Wednesday that would ban geo-blocking in online sales but let streaming services keep doing it, at least for now.
“The proposed ‘anti-geo-blocking’ regulation doesn’t do what it says on the tin,” Julia Reda, a member of the European Parliament’s Green Group, told Bloomberg. “When most Europeans hear the term ‘geo-blocking,’ they think of the all-too-common error message that ‘this video is not available in your country’ — and yet the measures presented today will not do anything to address this. An anti-geo-blocking regulation that does not cover online video content misses the point.”
OpenMedia’s David Christoper said the partial ban was “all the more disappointing” given the fact that EU Commission had weighed eliminating geo-blocking entirely only a few months ago.
“It’s clear that, at best, this was sadly only a very modest step forward when it comes to geoblocking,” Christopher said in an email, “and it’s particularly disappointing to see online video services exempted from the new rules.”
Amrita Khalid is a technology and politics reporter who specializes in breaking down complex issues into practical, useful terms. A former contributor to CQ, a Congressional news and analysis site, she's currently a master's candidate in international relations at the University of Leeds.