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BBC iPlayer adds password controls

"It isn't about enforcing the licence fee"

The BBC has added password controls to its iPlayer service, forcing viewers to register in order to watch its programmes.

iPlayer users will now need to provide the BBC with their name, date of birth, email address and home address if they want to use the service. They will then have to log in when they want to watch something.

Broadcaster insists that the move isn’t to crack down on users watching BBC content without a TV licence, but stated that it will match users names and email addresses against its licence fee database to spot those watching content without paying.

It became mandatory for iPlayer viewers to have a TV license last year, with questions raised over exactly how the corporation planned to monitor usage.

In a statement, the BBC said: “It isn’t about enforcing the licence fee – it’s about giving you a better BBC and helping you get the most out of it. We’re not going to use mass surveillance techniques or ask internet providers for IP addresses.”

“Information you provide us with can help TV Licensing ensure that people are abiding by the law and minimise licence fee evasion,” it said.

The broadcaster instead said that the change will help it provide personalised recommendations and let viewers swap devices with ease.

“By finding out more about you and what you like we can make better content, make it more relevant, and bring it to you more effectively,” the statement read.