A battle looming over the physical location of Netflix customers.
Going back in time, when Netflix was expanding its service World Wide, a decision was made, at the very highest level, that the provider would bend, rather than fight, the wishes of the oligopolies that controlled the airwaves in most of the World. They achieved this by delaying or, in some cases by changing, the content format from that offered in the home country of the United States. Not a bad decision for a company that clearly had a clear lead over the competition.
Now the decision is looking very different. Destructive technology has invalidated the idea, because, according to reliable reports, over one-third of all Netfix customers use web sites that mask their location so they can down load US content at will.
Netflix, sensing the looming battle, recently put out a statement to the effect that the users of these masking sites are breaking the terms of service of their existing Netflix contracts. Pointedly they did not say what they proposed to do about it other than scold and rattle their sabers.
If the Netflix situation sounds vaguely familiar it may be because I wrote about this very subject in my piece Uber Uber, the story of Taxi Cabs on demand, for a fraction of the price as that offered by the oligopolies of urban regulated taxi services. Uber has since paid a price, in terms of public support, for their hubris, some would dumbness, in refusing to even come to the table with municipal authorities. The efficacy of this policy will have to await further developments, but in the meantime the reasons why destructive technology is prevailing have not changed.
Oligopolies, including many now say, airlines, all too often, offer bad service at outrageous prices. Put another way they have forgotten the customer and should be broken up.
Would be it was all that simple, for under the rumble of discontent lies the very real threat to Net Neutrality that is at the core of the w.w.w. We maybe only inches away from stifling government control of the net by means of a super utility. Much the same as the old Ma Bell that controlled telephone service in North America for many years and successfully stifled innovation. (Ma Bell was broken up only to put back together again, at enormous profit to the major banks)
The case of Sony stinks to high heaven. The very idea that a country with only six thousand internet users can lay low a giant World Wide corporation, without so much a raising a finger, is farcical. This was an inside job done for money, maybe even to drum up support for a Class B Movie. But if this was not enough consider why the President of the United States, in all his might and majesty, seemed it fit to jump in and use the hack, if it even was one, to pump for greater net security. All made possible of course by your friendly N.S.A.
It is very difficult to imagine a scenario where users of Netflix who have paid for the service would be prosecuted, presumably for piracy, when all that is involved is a matter of timing. Unless of course there is another agenda that, in a round about way, goes to the control of the medium.
In many cases the security paranoia is a crock. The disruptive technology that created the opportunity can easily solve the problem. An example advanced chip and pin technology for credit cards. This has been available for some time, but has been shunned by a lot of merchants because of the cost. We can expect a lot more of this for there is now too much money at stake to justify passing the problem to higher powers.
As for the battle of control of the net. Stay tuned.