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The days of using your ex’s streaming passwords could be numbered

AP Photo/Richard Drew
Thanks Disney.
By Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s not uncommon for someone to be logged into their ex-boyfriend’s-mom’s-Netflix account years after a break-up. You’ve probably also noticed viewing discrepancies in your own accounts because that friend who “borrowed” your Hulu password to watch The Handmaid’s Tale conveniently forgot to clear their history.

Liberal password sharing has gone hand-in-hand with the advent of subscription-based streaming services, and up to now, many companies haven’t been too bothered by who paying customers share their logins with. But as the streaming wars continue to heat up—with what seems like a new service announced every week—a new announcement suggests that our days of widespread password sharing may be numbered.

Disney, whose forthcoming streaming service Disney+ has already established itself as the single greatest existential threat against Netflix, given the sheer amount of desirable content the service will have, is reportedly going to crack down on streaming account sharing with help from its buddy in the cable industry.

On Aug. 16, Disney struck a deal with Charter, the nation’s second-biggest cable company. The partnership will allow customers to buy a Disney service through Charter, according to Ars Technica, which would apparently prevent them from sharing a login with friends. It’s unclear how this would actually be enforced, but the companies’ statement said they “will work together to implement business rules and techniques to address such issues as unauthorized access and password sharing.”

While it doesn’t spell immediate doom for password sharing, it’s the first move a video streaming company has made to more strictly enforce password sharing. The legality of sharing passwords has come up in the past in regards to Netflix, but the streaming giant hasn’t taken any major steps to prevent it. In any case, while password sharing is still possible, consider consulting Quartz’s complete guide to Netflix password-sharing etiquette, which will answer all of your questions about who in your life you should be sharing your passwords with in the first place.

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