Amid challenging economic conditions, U.S. streaming giant Netflix is experiencing a downturn in subscribers signing up to its services, with users able to login to multiple devices connected to just one account.

The unrestricted sharing of passwords is exploiting a commercial loophole for Netflix, which led to the company unveiling a stricter set of rules to prevent account-sharing that also sabotages users’ data privacy.

Countries that include Chile, Costa Rica and Peru are ahead of the curve trialling higher membership fees for households that are found to take advantage of the current commercial model.

Devices installed with a Netflix account should all be connected to the same wifi as the household’s main device, or TV.

The world’s largest streaming service is set to suffer a second year of financial losses and subscribers falling by 200,000 after a hefty loss of 500,000 UK subscribers in 2022.

Netflix estimates that 100 millions worldwide are stealing the digital credentials of other users to use the service.

Under the new imposed rules, subscribers will still be able to share connected devices however accounts will be strictly limited to individual households. Charges will not be automatically imposed as the company considers exceptional rules for when accounts are used during trips abroad. Users can obtain a temporary password for 7 consecutive days which enables flexibility of access when travelling to different destinations.

The $3 charges imposed in some Latin-American countries offer a deterrent to account-sharing users but Netflix Co-CEO Greg Peters said members would be allowed to feedback their views “on what set of solutions work for them.”

As well as having a financial motivation to curb password sharing, Netflix is increasingly monitoring IP addresses, device IDs, and user activity linked to the account ‘s primary wifi location to distinguish legitimate users from cyber criminals.