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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.

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Saturday, 4 February 2017

National Audit Office TV Licence Review Evidence

In August 2016 the media went into a frenzy when the National Audit Office published a report claiming that TV Licensing had the technology to detect online viewers without a valid TV licence.

Many commentators seized on the idea that the BBC had somehow developed technology that allowed it to "sniff" the packets of data being delivered to people's wireless networks.

Even if the BBC did possess such magical technology, the evidence gathered would in no way prove that an offence was being committed at the property where the wireless network was installed.

The BBC provided evidence to the National Audit Office to support its claims that unlicensed online viewers had been prosecuted in the same manner as those viewing unlicensed by conventional means.

Yesterday, in its response to a Freedom of Information request placed by WhatDoTheyKnow.com user Mr I. Hillas, the National Audit Office released some of the evidence the BBC had provided to help it prepare its report.

In particular, the BBC provided a paper trail of evidence demonstrating how a Polish immigrant convicted of TV licence evasion was "brought to justice".

The gentleman in question had been convicted of viewing a Polish TV channel online, but in common with every other TV Licensing conviction the case hinged on only one piece of evidence - the word of a goon that had visited his property. No packet sniffing, no data interception, no secretive surveillance - the conviction boiled down to claims made by a commission chasing Crapita foot soldier.

Having studied this case in detail, we again have serious concerns about the quality of evidence gathered by TV Licensing. There are glaring contradictions in TV Licensing's evidence, which any defence lawyer would have spotted and discredited within seconds.

According to the completed TVL178 form the goon claimed he was refused entry and did not see or hear any TV programmes, yet on the other hand he claimed to have inspected the Polish gentleman's Apple laptop and found evidence of Polish TV channels. Those two claims directly contradict each other. 

Unfortunately the charges were "proven" in the absence of any plea by the defendant - in other words the court simply accepted TV Licensing's claim, highly implausible as that may have been, that an offence had been committed in the manner described.

Further evidence, as if any were needed, of the importance of defending any charges of TV licence evasion in court. Quite often TV Licensing's evidence just doesn't pass muster.

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Andrew Davidson said...

I thought you only needed a licence for channels broadcast in the uk? Surely Polish tv is outside tvl remit ?

Admin said...

I'm afraid you thought wrong Andrew.
There was a loophole that allowed the unlicensed reception of foreign TV channels, but that was closed in the Communications Act 2003.

Shady Pete said...

That goon should have been prosecuted because as he wouldn't have had authority under Sec.49 RIPA to "examine and test" a computing device. He had unauthorised access to computer files (browsing data) which is an offence under Sec.1 of the 1990 Computer Misuse Act - an indictable offence.

Admin said...

I agree with your sentiment Shady Pete, but it's probably not as cut and dried as that. Normal TVL policy is for the goon to ask the occupier to fire up their equipment as they watch and take in any evidence that results. That being the case, it's likely the goon didn't actually touch the laptop at all.

Chris said...

Still, they're supposed to inspect television receiving equipment. The occupier, if asked to fire up the laptop, should have said no, it's not television receiving equipment, stick to your remit please mr goon.

Fred Bear said...

This recent (end January 2017) report from the NAO is full of interesting information:


On page 30:

"The number of people leaving field teams outnumbered new staff joining in each month from March 2015 to June 2016. In that month, there were just 327 field FTEs against Capita’s target for 380."

It looks like a goon free country is not so far away.....

Anonymous said...

"The number of people leaving field teams outnumbered new staff joining in each month from March 2015 to June 2016. In that month, there were just 327 field FTEs against Capita’s target for 380. Capita told us that higher levels of staff turnover were partly due to increased physical and verbal assaults, and instances of staff being photographed and videoed by those they visited. There were 95 physical assaults reported in 2015. Capita told us these included some serious incidents resulting in some officers being hospitalised."

"In that month, there were just 327 field FTEs against Capita’s target for 380." Hmm, interesting......

Anonymous said...

"The Capita contract


The Capita contract is based on four critical success factors:

• continuously improve the cost of operational and support services;

• improve collection rates through innovation, process improvement and commercial incentives;

• enhance the public acceptability of the licence fee; and

• ensure service continuity in collecting the licence fee."