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Opinion

Why the Password Sharing Crackdown?

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Syda_Productions on Deposit Photos

Hand up; I am a part of the problem. I pay for Amazon Prime Video, but I have access to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ and Sling TV. I am one of the many password-sharers that are “stealing billions of dollars” from these poor tech giants. Major streaming services are trying to crack down on their password-sharing guidelines because there is a lot of money to be had if they can get everyone to pay for their own account. However, is it the right thing to do?

The art of password-sharing

There are normal cases, and there are extreme cases. In my case, I pay for one account, my family and friends cover other accounts and then we all share. This technique is the norm for people taking the cost-effective approach to streaming. I also have a friend who has used the Hulu password of someone he has never met for the last nine years. The extreme cases are what make password sharing toe the line of being criminal. 

What streaming platforms are doing about it

Streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu are trying to develop a way to crack down on password-sharers. They’ve floated the idea of using thumbprint logins, like on iPhones, but many people are hesitant to give up their DNA data to yet another platform. They have also thought to make their users frequently change their password to ward off people using accounts for years unnoticed. However, if you change your password too often, you’re bound to forget it.

If they somehow find a way to ban password-sharing, these major companies are aware they will scare off some of their users. Many people probably will go back to pirating content, and others will cut down how many subscriptions they carry. How many users can streaming platforms stand to lose?

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