State Fearmongering – BBC to deploy detection vans to snoop on internet users

BBC to deploy detection vans to snoop on internet users

By Patrick Foster
6 AUGUST 2016 • 8:24AM

The BBC is to spy on internet users in their homes by deploying a new generation of Wi-Fi detection vans to identify those illicitly watching its programmes online.

The Telegraph can disclose that from next month, the BBC vans will fan out across the country capturing information from private Wi-Fi networks in homes to “sniff out” those who have not paid the licence fee.

The corporation has been given legal dispensation to use the new technology, which is typically only available to crime-fighting agencies, to enforce the new requirement that people watching BBC programmes via the iPlayer must have a TV licence.

The disclosure will lead to fears about invasion of privacy and follows years of concern over the heavy-handed approach of the BBC towards those suspected of not paying the licence fee. However, the BBC insists that its inspectors will not be able to spy on other internet browsing habits of viewers.

The existence of the new strategy emerged in a report carried out by the National Audit Office (NAO).

It shows that TV Licensing, the corporation’s licence-fee collection arm, has developed techniques to track those watching television on laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

The disclosure of the controversial new snooping technique will lay to rest the persistent claims that detector vans are no more than an urban myth designed to intimidate the public into paying the licence fee.

Sir Amyas Morse, the comptroller and auditor general of the NAO, writes in the report: “Detection vans can identify viewing on a non-TV device in the same way that they can detect viewing on a television set.

“BBC staff were able to demonstrate this to my staff in controlled conditions sufficient for us to be confident that they could detect viewing on a range of non-TV devices.”

Currently, anyone who watches or records live programming – online or on television – needs to buy a £145.50 licence. But from September 1, those who use the iPlayer only for catch-up viewing will also need to pay the fee, after the BBC successfully lobbied the Government to change the law.

Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, the corporation is entitled to carry out surveillance of suspected licence-fee dodgers.

The BBC confirmed that its newly developed detection techniques had been authorised under the legislation.

While the corporation would not disclose how the new technology works, the report states that the BBC has ruled out combing its own records of computers that have logged into the iPlayer website to hunt down non-paying viewers.

Sir Amyas writes in the document: “The BBC rightly acknowledges that this would be an inappropriate invasion of privacy.”

Instead, electrical engineering experts said that the most likely explanation for how the BBC would carry out its surveillance was a technique known as “packet sniffing”, which involves watching traffic passing over a wireless internet network without hacking into the connection or breaking its encryption.

Researchers at University College London disclosed that they had used a laptop running freely available software to identify Skype internet phone calls passing over encrypted Wi-Fi, without needing to crack the network password.

Dr Miguel Rio, a computer network expert who helped to oversee the doctoral thesis, said that licence-fee inspectors could sit outside a property and view encrypted “packets” of data – such as their size and the frequency with which they are emitted over the network – travelling over a home Wi-Fi network.

This would allow them to establish if devices at homes without television licences were indeed accessing BBC programmes online.

Dr Rio said: “They actually don’t need to decrypt traffic, because they can already see the packets. They have control over the iPlayer, so they could ensure that it sends packets at a specific size, and match them up. They could also use directional antennae to ensure they are viewing the Wi-Fi operating within your property.”

Privacy campaigners described the developments as “creepy and worrying”.

A spokesman for Privacy International, the human rights watchdog, said: “While TV Licensing have long been able to examine the electromagnetic spectrum to watch for and investigate incorrect usage of their services, the revelation that they are potentially developing technology to monitor home Wi-Fi networks is startlingly invasive.”

A spokesman for TV Licensing said: “We’ve caught people watching on a range of devices, but don’t give details of detection as we would not want to reveal information helpful to evaders.

“Our use of detection is regularly inspected by independent regulators.”

The broadcaster included the NAO report in a list of documents that it claimed to have published alongside its annual report last month, but never distributed the review or uploaded it to its website. It has now been placed online by the public spending watchdog.

One comment

  • uhm

    So tell me if HOUSE A has a wireless router against the wall next to HOUSE B who has its router against the same wall as the same spot just opposite then how can the BBC tell for sure who’s router is who’s? This would mean the BBC would have to get some form of court order to snoop through IP addresses to match up service providers with customers. If TV detection existed in the past then ask yourself why inspectors would constantly try to snoop through letterboxes etc? Why did the BBC need to come into the property to physically see a connection to an aerial antennae etc? Very rarely you’d see a so-called detector van but usually these were in the early hours of the morning? Why would you try to detect people who were sleeping and their televisions switched off?

    When it comes to wireless communications no one has anything on you without your own admittance. What do I mean? Well wireless can be accessed by a neighbor or someone in the street. There will never be any proof that you were using wifi as long as you never admit it. I’ve warned you about wireless in the past and my advise is to switch off all wireless communications on the router and then only connect via Ethernet cord. The GCHQ and NSA etc have all been utilizing wireless to monitor and control peoples’ computers! Wireless isn’t going anywhere but this new Windows 10 face recognition and biometrics system will start to bring down the hammers as they’ll have logs of the scans that will allow access to the web. So for now and a while you’re safe but once the biometric logins become required to log on the web then you’ll have no where to hide unless you say someone else stole your prints etc.

    The BBC is a paedophiles den that has committed Treason on Britain and brainwashed the populace into wars and soon World War III where your family will die and be conscripted for the likes of Lord Rothschild and his chess moves of slavery. People ask why the BBC don’t just copy others and go on a subscription model, the reason is that most people don’t watch their programmes and so they know there would be no funds coming. The television is a social engineering tool using predictive programming to tap into your supercomputer brain. Not only can this brainwashing be achieved via hertz frequency ranges but also now via special proven hexidecimal color coding straight into the optic nerve via the screens themselves which can utilize millions and billions of colors. This visual programming color coding system actually goes back to the 1970s although its full potential has only been reached since the realize of these modern multicolored flatscreen televisions. Watch shortly as the focus moves from pixels over to colors in fact we’re already seeing this now (High Dynamic Range) since the 4K and 8K sets are available.

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