The BBC has moved to deny claims that it will use Wi-Fi detection vans to ‘sniff out’ those using BBC iPlayer without a TV licence.
The claims, led by the Telegraph, suggested that the BBC will deploy a new generation of detection vans to ‘spy on’ internet users in their homes and ‘capture information from private Wi-Fi networks’.
The Telegraph wrote, “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 BBC has this morning moved to deny the reports amid concerns over invasion of privacy.
In a statement, it said, “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.”
As of 1 September, those wanting to download or watch BBC iPlayer programmes on-demand will need to be covered by a TV licence.
The move came after the BBC agreed a deal with the government to cover the free TV licence fees currently offered to the over-75s.
As a result, the BBC is looking to cut £650 million from its annual budget, and has since been forced to pull out of multiple major sporting contracts, such as Formula One.
It is also exploring the possibility of asking over-75s to pay the licence fee on a voluntary basis.