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Netflix faces VPN backlash

NordVPN has joined Open Media in its campaign against Netflix efforts to block virtual private networks that circumvent regional content restrictions.

NordVPN, a provider of virtual private network services that allow Internet users to bypass censorship or regional content blocking,  has established an Emergency VPN program, freely available to those who need online privacy and security in case of emergency, under extreme duress or threat of physical danger.

However, it is also doing so partly in support of Open Media, an internet-advocacy group, which has attacked Netflix for its stance on VPNs.

Open Media has published an open letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, saying: “VPNs are one of the best and most accessible tools that Internet users have to protect our privacy. Whether it’s from malicious criminal activities, government surveillance and censorship, or simply connecting to a weakly-secured hotel Wi-Fi system, our personal and private digital information is constantly being put at risk and made vulnerable online.”

There are also countries,NordVPN said in a statement, where a lot of Internet content is blocked by “governments trying to control what their citizens can and cannot access”.

In all these cases, it says, VPNs are crucial for Internet freedom, privacy, and in cases with repressive governments, VPNs could perhaps save lives by providing anonymity to journalists and activists (for example, potentially protecting them from incidents like the recent killings of bloggers in Bangladesh or sentencing of a blogger in Saudi Arabia).

Responding to Hastings’ statement that VPN users are “a very small but quite vocal minority,” Open Media said: “We are not small, and we¹re not insignificant, but you did get one thing right: we are vocal. And we think it¹s important that our voices be heard. So far nearly 45,000 people have joined our campaign asking you to not block pro-privacy VPN technology.”

NordVPN directly is participating in the call to sign the petition. It can be accessed here:

NordVPN and Open Media also agree that Netflix is an advanced streaming service and “we love their services.There should be a better way, however, to solve licensing issues than blocking VPNs and privacy that they provide.”

NordVPN points out that it’s system still functions effectively with a Netflix account.

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