Late last week, TorrentFreak reported that Netflix is cracking down on VPN users. They claimed Netflix was bowing to pressure from the movie studios and trying to curb instances of people around the world using a VPN to access Netflix content that is only available in the USA. Many journalists saw the TorrentFreak article and ran with the story.
We were skeptical about TorrentFreak’s report from the outset. They published their article after talking to only one VPN provider. The blocking of VPN services was limited to Netflix’s Android app, and was apparently temporary. It took a few days, but Netflix finally confirmed our skepticism and debunked the TorrentFreak story.
This is important because VyprVPN can be a Netflix customer’s best friend. Many Golden Frog customers report a much better streaming experience on Netflix with VyprVPN than without it because they can bypass their ISP’s network congestion and defeat throttling.
ISPs in every country use deep packet inspection (DPI) to identity internet traffic so they can throttle or block streaming services such as Netflix. Golden Frog is network-neutral and doesn’t discriminate against devices protocols or applications. That means we don’t inspect our user’s traffic. VyprVPN acts as a “Virtual ISP” by encrypting traffic and defeating DPI to keep ISPs from identifying Internet traffic as streaming content from Netflix. If your ISP can’t identify your traffic, it can’t slow it down and users receive a better overall streaming experience.
Another issue that troubles us about the TorrentFreak report (and subsequent coverage in other outlets) is that it strikes fear into VPN users. We had a few customers ask us if we anticipate Netflix will go on the offensive against VPN users. The answer to that question is “no.” Here’s why:
First, it is important to remember that a personal VPN is first and foremost a privacy and security tool. If Netflix were to force users to turn off their VPN to access content, they would expose their customers to security and privacy risks when using other applications on their device.
Secondly, they would negatively impact all the users who pair Netflix with a VPN service for better streaming performance. These customers are using an “in-country” VPN, and are not running afoul of Netflix terms of service. They are simply inhibiting their ISPs ability to inspect their traffic and slow down their streaming connection.
In an online world that is increasingly less private and secure, we’d hope that Netflix and others would encourage privacy tools.