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Is BBC really going to deploy spy vans to check if you’re watching iPlayer without a license?

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Recent reports have claimed that BBC will begin to crack down on the license fee loophole that allowed users to watch iPlayer illegally.

Earlier this year, BBC had announced that it was planning to close the iPlayer loophole which meant you could watch on-demand content without a licence, as long as the shows weren’t being aired live. The new laws are going to be brought into action on September 1st, and The Telegraph reported that the BBC will deploy Wi-Fi detection vans to identify anyone watching their programs online without a license. A little far fetched if you ask us!

BBC Responds

In a statement made to Digital Spy, the corporation denied it will be capturing information from private networks to enforce the new requirement.

“There has been considerable inaccurate reporting this weekend about how TV Licensing will detect people breaking the law by watching BBC iPlayer without a licence,” they explained.

“While we don’t discuss the details of how detection works for obvious reasons, it is wrong to suggest that our technology involves capturing data from private Wi-Fi networks.”

Exaggerated Rumors

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The Telegraph claimed that the detector van strategy was discovered in a report carried out by the National Audit Office (NAO). It was said to show that TV Licensing has developed techniques to track those watching television on-demand.

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

Although iPlayer fans will continue paying for the service next month, those exclusively watching catch-up content from on-demand services such as ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5 and Netflix will still be exempt from the license fee.

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