Can you still Netflix and chill with your friend's password? Here is everything you need to know about a US court ruling which has raised Netflix password sharing anxiety.
A summary of the ruling says that access of a protected computer without the authorization of the system’s owner is illegal, and can be considered a violation of the US computer rule.
This has been interpreted to mean that you cannot log in to your ex, best friend or even parents' Netflix account for a "House of Cards" chill moment.
If this rule were to exist in Nigeria, it means you cannot access your friend's Netflix or iRoko TV account without authorization from the rightful owner who paid for the account.
While the ruling that password sharing violates federal law is limited to the specific case of a man convicted of using a former colleague's login to access workplace's database, it could set a pattern for future cases in the US.
Contrary to reports, the ruling has not stated that anyone would go to prison for sharing a password, however, it has some lawyers arguing over the impact it will have on future court cases related to passwords and access.
Arguing the ruling, Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt said "People frequently share their passwords, notwithstanding the fact that websites and employers have policies prohibiting it. In my view, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act does not make the millions of people who engage in this ubiquitous, useful, and generally harmless conduct into unwitting federal criminals."
What do Netflix and HBO think about password sharing? On January 16, 2014, HBO Chief Executive Richard Piepler told Buzzfeed that while password sharing isn't encouraged, it is a terrific marketing tool.
In 2016, Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO said "we love people sharing Netflix. That's a positive thing, not a negative thing." However, Netflix's terms and condition states that only the primary account owner is allowed to have exclusive control of the account.
While password sharing is not illegal in the United States of America, it is illegal in Tennessee. A law in the state makes it a crime to share login information like your password for sites such as Netflix and iTunes.