If you are a teacher who has been using your Netflix account to view materials in your classroom, Netflix has accidentally given you a peek at one possible future, and it’s not good news.
The streaming giant is implementing rules to end password sharing for single accounts. Netflix has estimated that 100 million users worldwide are sneaking in on someone else’s account, and they are hoping to convert those free riders to paying customers.
They are doing this by restricting sharing to “people who live together in a single household.” The Netflix Help Center now has a full page of the rules governing account sharing.
How does the service know you’re all in the same household? The websites says that the use “IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity from devices.” Practically speaking, “in the same household” means “using the same wi-fi.” If you are away from your “home” wi-fi, say, in your classroom at school, you may have extra hoops to jump through.
Right now the rules say that using an out-of-household device may result in a request to verify the device with a four-digit code sent to the primary account holder’s email address.
But Netflix is testing some stricter rules in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, and earlier this week they accidentally gave US audiences a peek at those rules. Reporter David Satin at The Streamable got a look at the new restrictions.
Someone using an out-of-household device would receive a message encouraging them to sign up for their own account, and blocking their access. Travelers would need to ask for a special seven-day code or be blocked.
In short, teachers would not be able to access their own Netflix account while in their classroom. There is, of course, no reason for teachers to watch. Bullet Train at school, but Netflix has a considerable library of material with educational value, giving students access to art, music and history from around the world.
I asked a Netflix Customer Service representative about how this would affect teachers who wanted to stream materials on Netflix for classroom use. The rep told me that some select documentaries are available for a one-time educational viewing. Beyond that small sampling, teachers would need an “at school” account (or possibly the school itself could qualify as a “household.”)
Netflix has said that they would not roll this plan out without plenty of advance notice and explanations for customers. I asked the service representative how soon the rules being tested in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru would be rolled out in the US, and they said they could did not have that information. I asked to be directed to someone who could answer the question, and the rep replied, “Nobody has that information.”