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TV licence iPlayer in effect, but how is it enforced?

All viewers who use the iPlayer to watch any BBC programmes must now be covered by a TV licence after new rules came into force.

Previously, iPlayer users only needed a licence if they were using the service to watch live broadcasts. That meant it was legal to watch programmes after broadcast on catch-up without paying the annual £145.50 (€173)  fee.  But the TV licence requirements have now been extended to include catch-up, online premieres and online-only shows.

The BBC said the changes to the rules are expected to particularly affect younger people. However, it is tight-lipped about how it will enforce the rule. It has denied claims it would be sampling traffic on household’s wifi to match streaming patterns and says its techniques will not infringe civil liberties. It implies it doesn’t want to give anything away for fear of evasion – others believe it has few of any methods of tracking users.

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