Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Privacy Television United Kingdom Your Rights Online

BBC Criticized For Snooping Under RIPA Powers 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the let's-see-what-you-got-there dept.
judgecorp writes "The BBC and other UK public bodies have been criticized for excessive and secretive use of snooping powers granted under RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act). The act allows the BBC and other to request information on suspected criminals, but it has been over-used, and used covertly according to critics. From the article: 'The BBC said it had not been secretive about how it was using RIPA powers. “The BBC uses Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act for the detection of television licence evasion alone,” a spokesperson said. “It is only used as a last resort once other enforcement methods have been exhausted.The reason we do not release more details on how and when it is used is to ensure people without a valid TV licence don’t use this information to their advantage when attempting to avoid detection.”'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

BBC Criticized For Snooping Under RIPA Powers

Comments Filter:
  • Heh! Heh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by rts008 (812749) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @04:49AM (#41092223) Journal

    In Soviet UK, TV watches you!

  • by Havenwar (867124) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @05:08AM (#41092325)

    I haven't paid my TV license since I moved away from home some 10-15 years ago. Most of that time I haven't actually had a TV either, I get my media online these days... but the people who come asking why I haven't paid my license are rarely so easily convinced.

    "Hello, I'm from 'Radiotjänst', we notice you haven't paid your TV license."
    "I don't have a TV."
    "Really? Can I look?"
    "I don't have a TV, I don't have a TV card for my computer, or any other item that is listed as requiring me to pay your license."
    "Are you sure, it covers quite a lot. If I can come in and have a quick look..."
    "I'm quite sure, and no, you can't come in."

    Then they'll usually call a few weeks later, because the inspector reports that behaviour as suspicious, so they call to ask. And then sometimes I get a letter as well, making sure I know that I seem to have 'forgotten' to pay my license.

    Agencies like that are the basic reason why things like RIPA is a very, very bad thing. Guilty until proven innocent, and harassed until you confess whether actually guilty or not. Organizations with that mindset is what caused the inquisition, so we really need to keep them under check rather than giving them more power.

    • by mrjb (547783)
      The rules are simple and clear: If you're not watching or recording live TV, you don't need a license. Catch-up and on-demand services are exempt. I don't have a TV and don't watch live TV. With an hour of content being uploaded to youtube every *second*, I've got all the content I want. TV is dead to me. I've had it with being treated like a criminal whilst I'm doing nothing wrong. What these thugs are doing is even worse than stopping and searching pedestrians at random and demanding to see their driving
      • by arth1 (260657)

        The rules are simple and clear: If you're not watching or recording live TV, you don't need a license. Catch-up and on-demand services are exempt.

        The rules are seldom that simple, and depend on the country you are in.

        In some, any equipment capable of receiving over-the-air signals in the designated TV bands is what prompts the license. Actual usage is irrelevant.

        How I know? I was forced to pay a license for using an RF modulator for connecting an old hobby computer with RF output to a monitor. The store that sold the modulator was required to report the buyers as owner of a license-requiring device.

        Anyhow, that's not the real problem. The problem

        • Why didn't you ask a friend to buy it for you, or bought it on ebay or over the internet, or even built it yourself?

          • by arth1 (260657)

            Why didn't you ask a friend to buy it for you, or bought it on ebay or over the internet, or even built it yourself?

            Because I didn't know this would be an issue until after I had bought it. All I wanted was to hook up my old hobby computer to a monitor, and an RF demodulator would do that.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        What these thugs are doing is even worse than stopping and searching pedestrians at random and demanding to see their driving license: What they're doing is akin forcing pedestrians to drop by at the Driver's and Vehicle Licensing Agency periodically, and force them to waste their time to prove that they DON'T own a car

        Even worse, it's more like turning up and searching your flat for keys to an auto... and taking note of anything else they might find.

    • by xiando (770382)
      RadiotjÃnst hassled me quite a lot back in 2005-2006. They called numerous times and asked stupid questions about "My television". They were asking in a way that assumed I actually had one in an attempt to make me admit I had one. I did not and I still don't. They eventually gave up when I actually told them that "You know, there is this brand new thing now that's called the Internet and that's far more interesting than the dull TV". RadiotjÃnst seems like a bunch of criminals imho.
      • by Havenwar (867124)

        At one time they rang the door when I wasn't home. My girlfriend answered and said that we had a TV. Now apparently they aren't allowed to ask people who don't live there, but back then they rarely asked if the person that answered the door was a resident. Anyway, I got a bill, and tried to refute it. They refused. I ended up "admitting guilt" and then telling them I got rid of the TV because I didn't want to pay more, which meant I had to pay for only the week or soi I allegedly had it.

        Haha, good story rig

    • by the_arrow (171557)

      Well, I hope you don't have a radio as well, as in Sweden you need to pay the license for radios too.

      • by Havenwar (867124)

        Actually that's not true. While the collected funds pay for public service radio as well, it's only the TV-receivers that have to pay.

        But no, I don't have a radio - streaming audio entertainment over the network or downloading just the songs I wanted was feasible long before the same was true for video.

  • Hrm (Score:4, Informative)

    by mrbester (200927) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @05:13AM (#41092349) Homepage

    "The reason we do not release more details on how and when it is used is to ensure people without a valid TV licence don’t use this information to their advantage when attempting to avoid detection.”

    Bollocks. The reason they do not release more details is that they don't want to.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      The crucial thing is not to let Sky and its parent company know how they are checking who has licences.

      Sky paid people to break ITV Digital's viewing cards and release "pirate" cards and the method for obtaining free TV without paying on the internet in order to drive ITV Digital out of business (it directly competed with Sky for Pay TV services), so I certainly wouldn't put it past them to "help" people dodge the TV licence to starve another competitor - the BBC.

      Direct bribery and cosy relations with polit

  • What defines a TV in the UK? If I have a 50" flatscreen hooked to my PC and never use it to watch TV (very common), does that mean it is not a "TV"? Is it anything with a tuner? It's harder and harder to get a large flatscreen without a tuner these days.

    • by u38cg (607297)
      Anything with a tuner and anything that can be used to watch online media. You need to be using it; having a dusty TV on top of a cupboard is OK, but having on your living room wall attached to your PC is probably not.
    • by xaxa (988988)

      A "TV" is something used to watch live television.

      I've noticed all the angry posts above, refusing to let the person checking licenses in to the house (you don't have to).

      However, not watching live TV is unusual, so I avoided all the hassle by letting them look at the TV, see that it very obviously was connected to 5 consoles and a DVD player (but no antenna, cable or satellite) and haven't heard anything more from them in two years.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I suppose you could disable the tuner if you were really worried about it, documenting the process. You'll want to buy a used (out of warranty) television for that, though.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @09:25AM (#41095115) Homepage

    ... And this is why we have had to be secretive.
    They really cover all bases in this article. They have both a denial that they have been secretive and an explanation of why they had to be secretive.

  • So, they gave the BBC permission to snoop on criminals then are surprised to find that the BBC abuses the privilege? Seriously? Those who do NOT learn from history are doomed to repeat history.

    Man can NOT have unchecked power. At all. When you give someone power, you need to have checks and balances to keep that person from abusing that power, otherwise the power will get abused.

    And we keep doing this over and over through out history. Will we ever learn?

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

Working...