Netflix's crackdown on location-masking software could drive people to piracy, according to new research

Netflix appears to have successfully cracked down on people who use third-party software (called a VPN) to watch movies and shows that aren’t available in their country.

But this move could spur users to piracy, according to research by security website Secure Thoughts. Secure Thoughts surveyed 1,000 VPN users who subscribed to Netflix, a sample they found using targeted ads on Facebook and Reddit.

84% of respondents said they would pirate more content because of the new Netflix restrictions, and 61% said the new policy would affect whether they kept their Netflix subscription.

In January, Netflix announced it would start taking active measures to block users who employ VPNs and other location-masking software.

Because of the complicated nature of some of Netflix’s licensing deals, not all shows and movies on the service are available to users all over the world. In order to bypass this, many subscribers had used software to fool Netflix’s servers into thinking their computer was located in another region, “unblocking” their favourite shows.

Netflix’s message was that it would take steps to make sure this no longer worked.

But this new policy hadn’t seemed to change anything until a few days ago, when VPN users began to complain, en masse, about being blocked.

Unblocking Netflix isn’t the only thing people use VPNs for, as they also provide enhanced security. 66% of respondents to the Secure Thoughts survey said that Netflix was not the primary reason they used a VPN.

The respondents also thought Netflix’s victory would be temporary. 78% of them said they believed that Netflix’s crackdown would not ultimately be successful.

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