Mobile Commerce

Inside PayPal And Netflix’s VPN Crackdown

There’s a loophole in Netflix that may soon be closed. Fortune reported Monday (Feb. 8) that moviegoers (that is, home-based moviegoers) have been using a “common trick” that lets them grab onto the Netflix catalog as it is available in other countries.

[bctt tweet=”There’s a loophole in Netflix that may soon be closed.”]

But that sleight of hand, the publication reported, uses a virtual private network (VPN) that is now getting squeezed by the PayPal decision to deny payment to services that look to promote VPNs — a way to subvert “geofences.” 

Citing TorrentFreak, Fortune said that PayPal has sent an email to Canadian software firm UnoTelly, serving notice that payment processing would be ended due to copyright concerns. The site has, in turn, asked users to use credit cards in lieu of the payments service. UnoTelly says its users can access movies that are streamed via Netflix only in other countries.

According to Fortune, it remains “unclear, for now, how widespread the PayPal crackdown campaign will be.”

But it may be a long drawn-out fight due in part to technology — as VPNs are a way for people to hang on to privacy — and PayPal may be seen as jumping into a battle over privacy and individual rights. Netflix, for its part, said it will be targeting subscribers who jump geofences, in addition to looking to grab global rights to the programming (both TV and movies) that it offers. Fortune noted that the company had declined outright to go after VPN users. Netflix users “may not understand” why the shows that they’d like to see that are shown in other countries are not available, despite the fact that they are paying customers who subscribe to the service.


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