Netflix has faced a furious backlash from users since it initiated its new program to prevent users from accessing geoblocked content using VPNs. Amongst this, one the forgotten victims of the VPN ban are military personnel serving abroad. Stars and Stripes reports that US servicemen and women will be left without one of their few comforts because of Netflix’s VPN block.
While Netflix is aware that military personnel use VPNs to access US content when stationed in foreign bases – “Netflix always exempts U.S. military bases around the world,” Anne Marie Squeo, a spokeswoman for Netflix, said. “They will still be able to access the U.S. catalog.” – there are a great number of servicemembers abroad that don’t live on-base.
“For me Netflix is a way of being home. It boosts your morale by letting you watch the things you would be able to see at home,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Shaundell Wright, a quartermaster with Yokosuka Navy Base’s Port Operations Dispatch, said. “We are already in a foreign country and everything is so different. So, to be able to watch Netflix feels good.”
Accessibility to more countries around the world is great, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse Fowler, a hospital corpsman, added, “but I’m mad if I can’t change where my Internet is so I can’t watch my own shows.”
“My VPN hasn’t been blocked,” Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Cutright, a Navy counselor, agreed. “But if it does, I will be pissed. Netflix Bahrain is trash.”
It remains to be seen if Netflix will take its VPN ban seriously, or whether the move is simply a gesture to placate content providers that are concerned about regional licensing agreements being violated.