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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.

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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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Evidence from TV Detection Equipment

The Freedom of Information Act is becoming an increasingly important tool for probing the integrity of the BBC and TV Licensing.

Unfortunately the BBC, with it's vast army of otherwise unemployable lawyers, is pretty adept at dodging most potentially embarrassing questions fielded by members of the public. Unperturbed, I thought I'd try my hand at a new FOIA request on the subject of TV detection equipment.

It reads as follows:

"In previous FOI disclosures the BBC acknowledges the existence of TV detector vans and portable detection equipment.

"As this equipment is purchased with public funds, I believe the public has a valid interest in its effectiveness as an aid to the prosecution of TV licence evaders.

"Under the terms of the 2000 Act, please tell me whether or not evidence obtained by detector van/portable detection equipment has ever been presented in court during the prosecution of an alleged licence fee evader.

"In this case a simple yes or no answer will suffice."

I reasoned that the BBC could provide one of three possible responses:

1. Yes: Disclose that evidence from detection equipment has been presented in court: This option would contradict the idea that detector van evidence is a myth. It would reinforce the BBC's assertions that detection equipment was an effective weapon in the arsenal against licence fee evaders.

2. No: Disclose that evidence from detection equipment has never been presented in court: This option would reinforce the idea that detector van evidence is a myth. Such an admission would be severely damaging to the credibility of the BBC's TV detection equipment.

3. Refuse to provide the information under the "law enforcement" exemptions in the Act: This option would strongly reinforce the idea that detector van evidence is a myth. It is inconceivable that an organisation as boastful and arrogant as the BBC, who "rely on the public perception that detector vans could be used at any time to catch evaders" (their words), would pass up the opportunity to brag about the usefulness of detector evidence in court. Unless it hadn't been presented in court, because it was of no evidential value.

The request can be read in full here.

The response, or lack thereof, just arrived today.

The BBC took the third option of saying they had the information but refused to disclose it. Despite being afforded the perfect platform to reinforce the public perception of detector van effectiveness, they chose not to. That silence speaks volumes.

It would seem the effectiveness of detector van evidence really is a myth!

Edit: Following an internal review the BBC has now confirmed that detection evidence has NEVER been presented in open court. Read more.


33_hertz said...

Well done!! Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Shot themselves in the foot haven't they?
If detector vans evidence really was worth anything they surely would have said so.
Their silence speaks a thousand words.
Thanks for another informative post.


Anonymous said...

Typical of the BS the BBC put out on their channels and through your letterbox, just what are they supposed to be able to detect? AFAIK plasma and LCD TV sets do not have the same kind of emissions that CRT sets have. If it was that simple they wouldn't employ renta twats to knock on your door and ask you questions you don't have to answer.

Anonymous said...

Even if there was evidence of TV detection produced in court, the defence could claim that it was a TV set in a neighbour's house that was detected. Just imagine the amount of detail that's involved not only to pinpoint a TV set but also that it was receiving a TV programme when they did the detection. There are so many points that could be raised by the defence to give reasonable doubt.

Admin said...

@ Anon above:
That's probably why the BBC is scared of using that evidence in court.
Too many potential pitfalls.

Marcus said...

If they presented any evidence in court the defendant would be perfectly in their rights to challenge that evidence by insisting the BBC produce details of the equipment it used to gather said evidence.

So they will never actually use it, even if it exists.

At most they will use any evidence to threaten people into an admission,

Anonymous said...

I note that TV Licensing are saying they will not prosecute people watching TV apps on the Ipad and the like because they do not have the technical equipment to detect use.
I have looked for court evidence of the vans detecting use for many years but have never found an example. I did fight TV licensing, in my capacity as an advice worker, for many years over many. aspects of its operation.Their powers, which are similar to other revenue organisations, were definitely based upon anyone is guilty until proven otherwise- which given the all encompassing legislation was difficult. They have made some changes but still have a long way to go.
I am entirely convinced that they operate on the info from records of licence holders and bullshit and not TV detection.
That said, I do not support licence cheats.

Admin said...

@ Anon above:
We do not support licence cheats here either.
If you look at our "mission statement" you'll see that we're here to expose the despicable tactics TV Licensing employ in their pursuit of genuine non-TV users.

Anonymous said...

It's not cheating if you don't accept the imposition of the TV licence in the first instance. Who said the TV licence was for the benefit of all? The only beneficiaries from the TV licence are the BBC and the over-75s. In the latter case, they feel good about the TV licence because they're getting something for free (free to them, but paid for by the tax payer). Rejecting the TV licence is not cheating. Let the people in office understand that the TV licence is a crap idea.

John P said...

Any news on that IR request yet?

Admin said...

IR response is due by 18th March 2011. Let's see if they're true to their word and respond on time.

Anonymous said...

Look at it this way. Where do you purchase television detecting equipment from. I cannot find any where.

Admin said...

The BBC say that they design and make their own detection equipment. They also say the technology is not protected by patent, presumably because to do so would require them to divulge information about it.

rog_rocks said...

Sorry Folks;

You should check out Van Eck Phreaking also known as TEMPEST, here's some links;



Now although it exists, I do believe that this technology is very expensive and exclusive and not the sort of thing I think the BBC would have fleets of rolling around the streets.

However, due to what I believe is blatant 'anti-Scottish political bias' I do not wish to fund this affront anymore and so I do not watch or record broadcast TV as it is broadcast; this is the only thing that a TV license is required for;

"You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast."... and nothing else!

Hence I have no need of a TV license and have no need of worrying about detection. These people have no right of entry and should be politely asking if I wish to purchase their service, not threatening or terrorising.

I use my TV's for all the purposes they can accept for watching (or recording) broadcast TV as it is broadcast. This includes using as a PC monitor, they make the best PC monitors, I sit a PC next to each TV where they can watch on demand TV after it is broadcast, they are linked so all TV's can see what the main TV see's, to a certain extent, they can be used for games (42" gaming rocks:-)) and networked gaming too, could have a wee LAN party, watching DVD's, Blue Rays coming, still got the odd video, as there's a PC there now it becomes a great MP3 player, masses of memory going through the surround sound and also a CD player, with a magnificent display and of course don't forget listening to the radio :-), I also blog a bit more than I used to and so read more.

From Wiki;

"Van Eck phreaking is the process of eavesdropping on the contents of a CRT- or LC-Display by detecting its electromagnetic emissions. It is named after Dutch computer researcher Wim van Eck, who in 1985 published the first paper on it, including proof of concept. Phreaking is the process of exploiting telephone networks, used here because of its connection to eavesdropping.

Van Eck phreaking might also be used to compromise the secrecy of the votes in an election using electronic voting. This caused the Dutch government to ban the use of NewVote computer voting machines manufactured by SDU in the 2006 national elections, under the belief that ballot information might not be kept secret. In a 2009 test of electronic voting systems in Brazil, Van Eck phreaking was used to successfully compromise ballot secrecy as a proof of concept."