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BBC denies Wi-Fi detector vans

The BBC has described claims by the UK’s Daily Telegraph that the corporation will use TV detector vans capable of capturing information from private Wi-Fi networks to identify people watching iPlayer without a TV licence as being wholly “inaccurate”.

The newspaper’s claims come as the BBC closes a loophole that allowed access to BBC content without having to pay the licence fee. From September anyone watching the BBC’s catch-up TV service iPlayer must have a valid TV licence.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the BBC plans to clamp down on those using the iPlayer service without a licence by using vans that 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.”

In rebuttal, the BBC issued a statement saying: “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. 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.”

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