Is it illegal to use a VPN to watch Netflix?
We love nothing more than curling up with a cuppa and watching the latest drama as a nation.
In fact, a recent study shows that Brits spend more than a third of their time watching TV and online videos for an average of five hours 40 minutes a day, with more than 60% of households paying for a streaming service.
But what do you do if your favourite show is streaming across the pond and you just can’t wait? any people are turning to using a VPN, but is it illegal, and could it see you losing your subscription?
Like many other streaming platforms, Netflix makes it say you have content that is exclusive to your region. This means that you can only watch the shows dedicated to your region, making what the UK’s watching very different from what a Netflix user may be watching in another country. Some people have tackled this issue and have used VPNs to change their region and access specific shows. It seems like you’re cheating the system, so it raises the question – will it get you in trouble?
What is a VPN?
A VPN helps to protect your internet connection from hackers and contributes to protecting your privacy online by encrypting your data. It creates a protective bubble-like shield around your online activity by hiding your IP address. Providing you with a safe and secure way to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots safely, VPNs can also provide users with the ability to stream content from outside their region. For example, a UK VPN will allow users to stream Netflix UK and BBC iPlayer outside the United Kingdom.
Why do people use a VPN for streaming?
Predominantly VPNs are used to provide security, but they are increasingly being used by people who want to stream shows or services blocked in their current region, whether because of licensing issues or government censorship. When using a VPN for streaming, users can circumvent these blocks and access the programs they’re looking for.
Can I get in trouble for using one?
With more than half (53%) of all UK households subscribed to at least one Tv or video-on-demand service, and a growing number of streaming services worldwide, streaming services are facing greater challenges with people using VPNs.
While using a VPN to access another region’s services isn’t illegal, it is against many services guidelines, including Netflix’s. Currently, Netflix only issues a warning message, but other streaming services have started taking more serious action. For example, BBC iPlayer detects and blacklists IP addresses traced back to VPN providers, and Amazon follows suit.
But rest assured that if you’re trying to watch your favourite Scandi-noir or Korean thriller, you aren’t breaking any laws, but in the future, your account may be in jeopardy.