BBC iPlayer WiFi sniffing

The request was partially successful.

Numerous news reports today (5 Aug 16) cite a National Audit Office report to the effect that TV Licensing, acting on behalf of the BBC, is employing technologies in its 'detector vans' so as to detect those who are watching iPlayer in their homes, in order that unlicensed viewers may be detected and caught. Reference was specifically made to the collection of information from home WiFi networks.

Given that this collection would likely constitute 'interception' in the meaning given to it in s 2(2) of RIPA:

1. Has authorisation been signed granting collection of this data? If so, who signed it?

2. What measures are put in place to safeguard the collateral information likely gained as a result of this collection? Statement of compliance with Data Protection Act etc is insufficient: what specific technical steps have been taken?

3. What factors did they take into account when authorising this collection, and how did they weight them, ie how did they come to the decision they did?

4. If WiFi sniffing (or other IP traffic interception techniques) are not used, then please give the details of any National Audit Office reports dealing with the deployment of so-called 'detector vans' and exactly what information is harvested from private homes and how.

If you are unable to answer the above questions, and given that the above information ought, by the provisions of RIPA itself, to be readily available at least internally, please give the factors which were taken into account when making *that* decision as to whether to release the information, namely how the public interest in understanding this kind of mass surveillance has been weighed against the commercial interests of Capita/TV Licensing/BBC and/or the detection/prevention of crime; and please also give the level of seniority at which this decision has been made.

If your are unable to deal with this request please provide the contact details of the relevant agency who can.

If TV Licensing collectors are unable to intercept information from domestic WiFi networks (whether technically or legally) please can you confirm this.

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear S O'Grady

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 6th August 2016. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20161452

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Sir/Madam,


Please find attached our response to your request for information
reference RFI20161452.


Yours sincerely,


Information Rights, BBC Legal

BC2A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TP

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