It's about to get a lot harder to access Netflix from foreign countries
Many movie fans use a common trick to pull up the Netflix catalog from other countries. But that trick, which involves using a VPN (virtual private location), just got harder in light of a decision by PayPal to cut off payment services to sites that promote VPNs as a way to dodge so-called “geo-fences.”
As TorrentFreak reports, PayPal sent an email to the Canadian “unblocker” service UnoTelly, stating it was cutting off payment processing operations over copyright concerns. UnoTelly has responded by asking its PayPal customers to switch to credit cards.
It’s unclear for now how widespread the PayPal crackdown campaign will be. While the company has a reputation for taking aggressive action against file-sharing sites over copyright concerns, the decision to target VPN sites could be more complicated.
The reason is that people use VPNs and a similar technology known as smart DNS (you can read how it all works regarding Netflix here) for other reasons besides watching out-of-country movies. The tools, for instance, are a popular way to preserve privacy and avoid censorship, which has led some to view the PayPal campaign as heavy-handed:
Netflix, meanwhile, also recently announced it’s cracking down on subscribers who circumvent geo-fences. This is a change from past stances when the company suggested that stopping VPN access was a difficult whack-a-mole problem.
In order to avoid the issue in the first place, Netflix has also been pursuing a strategy to lock up movie and TV rights on a global basis. Doing so means there is less discrepancy between the shows available to Netflix consumers in different countries.