Netflix

VPN/Netflix Petition

Open Media has created a petition asking Netflix to stop blocking customers using Virtual Private Network services to access their larger American repertoire. Click here for details.

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Paypal Says No To VPN

In response to potential copyright issues Paypal has decided to stop offering their services to VPN services. And unfortunately that means that those of us who want to secure our tablets, laptops and phones whilst traveling or using public wi-fi will need to pay using other methods.

The first VPN company to receive notice was Canadian company UnoTelly, whose account have been limited by Paypal on the third of this month. And although other VPN providers appear to still be offering Paypal as a payment option, they are expected to be limited soon.

VPN services are not illegal but their use to view copyrighted content that has been limited to a specific country is technically illegal, even when payment has been provided to legitimate services like Netflix.

Netflix is working on providing more material to Canadians but people will always be tempted to use VPN to access the American version of Netflix as long it provides more content.

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Netflix USA and VPN

Netflix has issued a statement that they are working on offering content universally and will therefore start blocking Canadians from their American service.

“Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.” – January 14th,2016 Blog Entry

There is doubt in regards to the possibility of blocking proxy services like VPN on the net but if they do license more content the need for such a service would be reduced, which is great news for Canadians.

I’ve tried Netflix a few times and found myself leaving shortly after joining because of a lack of content. And now they’ve got more competition because of services like Shomi and Crave TV so it is in their best interest to start offering more content to Canadians.

BTW, if you are subscribed to a VPN service don’t get rid of it unless you do not use public wi-fi often. You can use it to secure the smart phones, tablets and laptops you use when you’re away from home.

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Shomi – First Impressions

Now that Shomi has been made available to all Canadians I thought perhaps i’d give you my first impressions on this service.

I started using Shomi a few months back when I switched from Bell to Rogers and I currently get it for free with my cable package. But I don’t think if i’d pay $8.99 per month for the service.

Although I can access the service conveniently via by set top box and view content without it counting towards my download/upload limit, I still have issues with the service in regards to content.

Like the Canadian version of Netflix, Shomi has a limited catalogue of television series and film. And I happen to already own the vast majority of my favourite films on the service.

On the other hand Hollywood Suite is being offered to me at $5.95 per month and features quite a lot of films, including some on demand. And Crave TV has a significant amount of television series i’d be interested in at $4 per month, but the later would count towards my download/upload limit.

If Crave TV was offered via Roger’s set top box i’d go for it, in a heartbeat. But Crave TV is operated by Bell Media, Roger’s competition. And they’re only going to start offering the service to the rest of Canada on January 1st, 2016.

I’m hoping Shomi will expand their selection considerably to compete but I seriously doubt it will happen for some time because of licensing.

Netflix Canada have been plagued by licensing issues that have kept them from offering as many titles as their American counterparts and i’m guessing that both Shomi and Crave TV will be subjected to the same limitations.

I’m definitely going to keep checking Shomi for new content. But I suspect Crave TV will win me over by February because it has South Park, Little Britain, Monty Python and several music documentary series like Classic Albums and the INXS television mini-series.

What Netflix Tax ?

It should be noted that the CRTC ruled against a “Netflix tax” in March 2015, as stipulated in a March 12th, 2015 thestar.com article. And that all of the major parties have categorically denied wanting such a tax.

Apparently the only major proponent of this tax was the provincial government of Ontario. But they have since changed their minds according to University of Ottawa Law professor and internet columnist Michael Geist. His March 10th, 2015 blog entry on this issue can be found by clicking here.

Suspended Membership Phishing/Hacking Scam

There appears to be a new Netflix scareware scam going around and I thought I’d inform you as to how it works.

Basically victims are sent a fake email directing victims to a fake Netflix site where members are asked to enter their email address and password.

Once entered this information is captured by the criminals and victims are then forwarded to another fake page claiming their account had been suspended.

This fake page then urges victims to call an 800 number to reinstate their membership which actually directs individuals to a call center in India, where fake Netflix technicians are waiting to continue their con.

When victims call this 800 number they are told that their computers have been taken over by hackers and are asked to download software to remove the hackers and/or clear their computers of viruses.

This software enables the fake Netflix technicians to access your computer and all the sensitive information found on this computer’s hard drive. But access to Netflix and your sensitive information is not the only objectives of this scam.

Victims who have gone through this process are also asked to pay for the privilege of being violated.

They are asked to pay for the clean-up, a five year membership for an anti-virus program and a five year membership for a firewall.

In exchange for payment by credit card the fake technicians offer a coupon code for a discount on Netflix membership. But not only do they request credit card information for payment but also ask their victims to send photo identification to them.

This information of course enables them to steal identities, as well as to defraud their victims through their credit card. And Netflix members will not likely be the only target because it can be adapted to target any online membership.

The best defense against this scam is to ignore the links and phone numbers provided in these emails and contact a company directly via their web site.

If there are real issues with your account at a particular company their customer service department should be able to help you.

I bookmark the sites I access the most in my internet browser and use those links instead. And using spam filters on your email also helps because some filters will keep these phishing attempts out of your inbox if enough people label it as spam.

Most webmail sites have spam filters and you can install free spam filters for your PC by clicking on the following logo :

Award-winning anti spam filter