Enforcing the TV License

I should state that I do have a TV license and I have researched the below question online, but can't find a satisfactory answer.

I understand that if you watch live TV through BBC iPlayer on a computer/tablet/phone that you have to buy a TV license, which is all well and good.

What I want to know is how can they possibly enforce that? Are they asking everyone with a computer/tablet/smartphone to buy a TV license on the off-chance that they even access the BBC iPlayer app?

Obviously I know off the vans which detect your TV signal (not sure if this is a myth or not) and obviously if you own a TV, you're going to need a license.

But, surely just owning a computer and expecting you to buy a TV license is ludicrous! And, I repeat, how can they possibly enforce it? Come into your house and inspect your internet history?!
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Comments

  • spadoosh
    spadoosh Posts: 8,732
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    I dont know if this is how they do it but i assumed they just cross check IP addresses with service providers to get physical addresses and then cross check that with their database of properties that have paid for a licence.

    And no they dont expect everyone with a device capable of accessing online content to have a licence. They expect anyone who uses their licence services to have one.
  • Farway
    Farway Posts: 13,017
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    They require you to sign up for iplayer with postcode, so I assume some data base checks it off.

    .How they would know if the post code you supplied was your real one & not, for instance, local chip shop I've no idea
    Eight out of ten owners who expressed a preference said their cats preferred other peoples gardens
  • wongataa
    wongataa Posts: 2,599
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    Not everyone with a computer etc needs their own licence. If the household you live in has one then all the computers and phones (and televisions) in the household are covered. There can be several people and devices in a household.



    It is quite hard to enforce in reality. A lot of it is down to trust.
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,135
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    Yes, a TV Licence is required to watch or download content from BBC iPlayer (and also to watch/record TV channels).

    Neither iPlayer usage or TV broadcast viewing is subject to rigourous, technology-based enforcement (although it would be technically much simpler to do it for iPlayer than for broadcast).

    What happens is that when you have no TV Licence, TV Licensing write to you - a lot. And if that doesn't persuade you to buy a Licence, they may visit you. And ask questions. They never really are that interested as to whether you need a Licence or not as a question of fact. They merely want you to buy one, or failing that to admit to evasion. Anything in between will just keep their "inquiries" going, subject to various legal ploys that can be used to deter them.

    It's all a bit crazy, old-fashioned and very British.

    But there is a basic legal requirement to hold a Licence if you need one.
  • mobileron
    mobileron Posts: 1,218
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    Surely data protection will not allow them to get the IP address from the ISP.

    Capita are the company that knock on the door do not let them in our sign any paperwork,people that get fined usually admit they have been watching tv. There is no such a thing as a TV detector van any more.
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,135
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    mobileron wrote: »
    Surely data protection will not allow them to get the IP address from the ISP.

    Indeed. There is no basis in law (or otherwise) for Capita to obtain subscriber information from ISPs (whether there is well-founded suspicion of TV Licence evasion or not).

    Personally, I think that they are missing a potentially useful enforcement option, here. I would be quite happy for my ISP to allow me to tick two checkboxes - one that blocks BBC URLs, and the other that says I consent to them providing that information and my address to the BBC.
  • onomatopoeia99
    onomatopoeia99 Posts: 6,940
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    mobileron wrote: »
    Surely data protection will not allow them to get the IP address from the ISP.
    GDPR will prevent the ISP disclosing personal information it holds. It will not prevent TVL from obtaining a Norwich Pharmacal order from a court that requires the ISP to disclose the information.
    Proud member of the wokerati, though I don't eat tofu.Home is where my books are.Solar PV 5.2kWp system, SE facing, >1% shading, installed March 2019.Mortgage free July 2023
  • Cornucopia
    Cornucopia Posts: 16,135
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    GDPR will prevent the ISP disclosing personal information it holds. It will not prevent TVL from obtaining a Norwich Pharmacal order from a court that requires the ISP to disclose the information.

    Realistically, though, they don't do this.
  • Nick_C
    Nick_C Posts: 7,437
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    edited 13 June 2019 at 8:33AM
    obviously if you own a TV, you're going to need a license.

    Just for clarity, you don't. If you only watch on demand services such as Netflix then you don;t need a TV license. You are being licensed to watch live TV or use iPlayer, not to own and use a TV set.
    mobileron wrote: »
    Surely data protection will not allow them to get the IP address from the ISP.

    I may be wrong, but I thought law enforcement authorities were allowed to use data from private companies (ISPs)?
  • onomatopoeia99
    onomatopoeia99 Posts: 6,940
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    Nick_C wrote: »
    I may be wrong, but I thought law enforcement authorities were allowed to use data from private companies (ISPs)?
    No. They have to apply for a Norwich Pharmacal order to require an innocent third party to disclose information that may be relevant to a crime or tort.

    A private citizen or company can also apply for such an order. Plenty of information online.
    Proud member of the wokerati, though I don't eat tofu.Home is where my books are.Solar PV 5.2kWp system, SE facing, >1% shading, installed March 2019.Mortgage free July 2023
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