Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Saturday, 8 November 2008

Freedom of Information?

Every so often people make Freedom of Information Act requests to the BBC on the issue of TV licence enforcement.

The BBC, as licensing authority, is responsible for the administration, collection and enforcement of the licence fee. TV Licensing is the trading name of the companies contracted by the BBC to oversee collection and enforcement of the fee.

The Information Commissioner has just adjudicated on the BBC's decision to withhold information from an FOI request about the use and effectiveness of TV detecting equipment. The Commissioner found in favour of the BBC, deciding that the Corporation was entitled to rebuff the questions on the grounds of law enforcement.

The refused FOI request sought the following information:
  • How many TV detection devices the BBC had.
  • How often TV detection devices were deployed.
  • Technical specifications of the devices.
The Information Commissioner's adjudication makes interesting reading. The document includes the following justification for upholding the BBC's decision not to reveal how many detection devices they have (see para 16):

"The BBC state that to release information which relates to the number of detection devices and how they are used will change the public's perception of their effectiveness. If the deterrent effect is lost, the BBC believes that a significant number of people would decide not to pay their licence fee, knowing how the deployment and effectiveness of vans and other equipment will affect their chances of success in avoiding detection."

Or, to put it another way: The BBC's array of TV detection equipment isn't as large or as effective as their propaganda would have you believe. If they told you the true story you'd probably be so unconcerned about detection that you'd not bother with a licence.

A glaring own goal to the BBC and TV Licensing!


Anonymous said...

just a thought, but do these vans or equipment require calibration? if so would you be entitled to ask for a cert of calibration?

admin said...

These vans and equipment, if they actually exist, will need regular testing and recalibration. A company called dB Broadcast is responsible for this work and have admitted servicing the vans on a 6-monthly basis.

To the best of our knowledge no evidence from these vans, if they exist, has ever been put before a court. They won't do that because the defendant would be entitled to scrutinise the reliability of their evidence, as you rightly imply.

They are shit scared of anyone doing that!