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Wi-fi detector vans to be deployed in iPlayer crackdown

Wi-fi detector vans are being deployed by the BBC in the next phase of its crackdown against people watching content online without a TV licence.

According to The Times, parked vehicles will view encrypted “packets” of data travelling over a home’s network. Through this, the BBC will be able to see if devices are being used to access iPlayer content.

The Daily Telegraph reports this that has been legally authorised.

Sir Amyas Morse, auditor- general of the The National Audit Office (NAO), wrote in a recent 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.”

It comes after the BBC revealed that come September new legislation will come into effect that will see all households watching BBC content hit by the £145 per year charge irrespective of their chosen medium.

A TV licensing spokesperson said: “Fewer than 2 per cent of households only watch catchup – and only those watching BBC iPlayer as part of their catchup and on-demand viewing will need to buy a licence from September.

“You will not need a TV licence to download or watch programmes on demand from other providers, such as YouTube, Netflix, ITV Hub, All 4 or Demand 5.

“All unlicensed households are being mailed and a publicity campaign will happen before 1 September.”