How to solve password sharing? Not like this.


Mollie Shiflett ’26 is an undecided major who will probably end up majoring in History. She plays on the Gold Women’s Club Soccer team for the College of William and Mary and is an avid fan of most sports, except golf. Email Mollie at

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.

What’s in a streaming service? To put it most plainly: access. My generation, or myself at the very least, likes streaming services because they provide better access to movies and TV shows that are hard to find on cable and allow you to take your viewing on the go. Streaming services like Netflix are better developed and more widespread than cable TV apps, and they are an altogether superior experience with their curated lists of endless new shows and movies to fit our taste.

However, we’ve had it too good for too long. Over a month ago, Netflix mistakenly published an announcement for United States viewers that said that they would be introducing a program to crack down on password sharing. This new method would require every person on a given Netflix account to log into Netflix from their home Wi-Fi (let’s put aside the scariness of a large for-profit company tracking your IP address for the moment) to stay a part of that account. 

If users on a shared plan are found to be in different locations rather than in one household, Netflix will direct the account holders to create sub-accounts (for additional charge) to continue sharing an account with those profiles that don’t make their monthly return to home Wi-Fi. This plan has been laid out as a pilot program in several Latin American countries.

Not only has this tightening of password sharing created widespread backlash among Netflix subscribers, but I also feel like this should be of special concern to college students like those of us at the College of William and Mary. While most of us are in-state students, we still can’t go home every month to make sure we don’t get kicked out of our Netflix accounts. 

As college students, we don’t always have the most to look forward to, but it was always nice to be able to fall back into bed and turn on my comfort episode of the “Great British Baking Show.” However, the simple fact of the matter is that this may no longer be feasible. I do not know whether or not Netflix has considered the strange purgatorial existence that is not really living in any one place that is part of attending any college, but if it has, it hasn’t done it well, and if they haven’t, they should.

Netflix doesn’t even offer a student discount right now, so us college students must either wait for one of our creature comforts to be taken away, open our non-existent pockets to pay for an additional Netflix account or hope our parents will be willing to pay extra for us — in addition to the $30,000 or so they already spend on us every year. The third option may, of course, be the most likely, but it seems unfair that this rule will affect students who are away from their hometowns for their education but not so disconnected from home life that they could or should be forced to create their own account.

From a profit perspective, one could understand why Netflix is considering implementing this new rule. After all, while Netflix used to dominate the streaming industry, it is now only one in a huge deck of different options, and one could make the case that they aren’t even the best option anymore. However, this policy change comes at the cost of alienating an entire subset of their subscribers who probably use their service more than the parents whose names are on the account. Unless Netflix creates some sort of exception for college students, the policy it plans to institute will be unfair, either creating a punishment for students merely attending a college away from their native zip code or forcing parents to pay more for people who are (for all intents and purposes) still their dependents and housemates despite temporarily being miles away.


  1. “(let’s put aside the scariness of a large for-profit company tracking your IP address for the moment)”

    FYI: Every single site you visit is aware of your IP address. That’s how the internet works. Also, geotracking IP addresses of users is something a ton of sites do to make sure they give you content from the right region. If you think this is scary, just take a look at the data that Google has on you at any given moment.


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