Privacy Activists Set Up Giant Mobile Billboard Across From Netflix HQ To Protest VPN Blocking

Image courtesy of OpenMedia

From a business standpoint, it makes sense for Netflix to block VPNs — virtual private networks — to cut down on users accessing its content in foreign countries. But privacy activists who just want to use VPNs to keep their internet connections, well, private, aren’t too pleased with Netflix’s recent blocking campaign.

In protest, digital rights group OpenMedia parked a truck with a giant billboard on it across from Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, CA (h/t TorrentFreak) reading: “We [Heart] Our Privacy” on a background of Netflixesque red and the URL for the unblocking campaign, DefendOurPrivacy.org.

OpenMedia sent an open letter a few weeks ago to Netflix, inviting CEO Reed Hastings to talk about alternatives to VPN blocking that might work for everyone. One idea — linking accounts to credit card number addresses to users’ content libraries.

The group put up the billboard in the absence of a reply from Netflix, TorrentFreak says, and hopes that it will send a clear message.

“Right now, Netflix customers are being forced to choose between watching their favorite shows and safeguarding their privacy,” OpenMedia’s digital rights specialist, Laura Tribe, said. “Our mobile billboard is one more way we’re working to encourage Netflix to rethink their approach. The company has much better options available to it, than undermining the privacy of over 80 million paying Netflix customers in the post-Snowden world.”

Hastings said last month during an investor call that the VPN blocking efforts haven’t hurt Netflix’s bottom line, saying the complaints came from a “small but vocal minority,” TorrentFreak notes.