Netflix has been dealing with a unique problem, i.e., Netflix subscribers sharing their account’s password with others. This is eating up the business of the company, as it couldn’t get as many subscribers as it would have got had those subscribers not shared their passwords. Netflix has gone to the court to solve this matter, but it eventually turned in the favor of users. Find out more about it in the sections below.
Netflix, in short, has positioned itself on using shared passwords. In a note to Business Insider, the company said its users are free to do whatever they want with their passwords on the platform, including sharing them with others at ease.
The controversy is the result of a US Supreme Court ruling issued in early July that ruled that dividing passwords would be a federal crime because it violates a CFAA rule that bans the activity. Sharing passwords could be considered a specific type of hacking.
Password sharing is one way that users have found so that more than one person can have access to the streaming service. In a note sent to BI, Netflix has confirmed that it will not act against users who do so. “As long as they do not sell their passwords, members are free to do whatever they want with them,” he said in a statement.
Understanding the controversy
The problem with American law arose in response to a case in which the former employee of a company hired former coworkers to access confidential data using their own credentials. That is, paid to have access to people’s passwords. The act was considered a violation of an outdated code of laws with more than thirty years of existence.
The CFAA (“Computer Fraud and Abuse Act”) is a set of American laws that govern activities related to computer fraud and abuse. The text was enacted in 1986, a time when computer systems and the Internet itself were used differently from the current one and did not anticipate activities such as that performed by Netflix and other remote access services.
Netflix was being a naïve on this issue because once subscribed to the service; a user can do whatever he/she wants staying within the rules and regulations of the company. If a user decides to share his/her password with someone else, then it becomes his/her responsibility to ensure that the password is not misused. It is good that the matter has been resolved now and people can share their Netflix passwords with whomsoever they want to. It is sad to see that the entire matter had gone to the court in order to be sorted out. But, it’s over now and Netflix has allowed users to share their passwords.