Statements involving TV Detector evidence

C Lee-Koo made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by British Broadcasting Corporation.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

The text of a sworn oath of a BBC application for a search warrant has entered the public domain. An excerpt of the text of that statement relevant to this FOI request is reproduced below.

“5. A television display generates light at specific frequencies. Some of that light escapes through windows usually after being reflected from one or more walls in the room in which the television is situated. The optical detector in the detector van uses a large lens to collect that light and focus it on to an especially sensitive device, which converts fluctuating light signals into electrical signals, which can be electronically analysed. If a receiver is being used to watch broadcast programmes then a positive reading is returned. The device gives a confidence factor in percentage terms, which is determined by the strength of the signal received by the detection equipment and confirms whether or not the source of the signal is a “possible broadcast””

“6…When the detector camera was pointed at the window of the Premises a positive signal was received indicating a TV receiver was in use receiving a possible broadcast with a confidence factor of 97%. ...”

--Excerpt ends--

The text in this statement makes plain that the TV detector does NOT produce with 100% confidence that its ‘positive reading or signal’ is indicative of a live TV broadcast being received, which is the legally licensable factor.

Search warrants granted by Justices of the Peace and Magistrates are based on the information contained in these sworn statements. The execution of these warrants will inevitably impinge on the liberty of legally TV licence free households.

It is also a criminal offence to make a false or misleading statement to a Justice of the Peace or Magistrate under oath.

There is therefore a strong public interest in full transparency of the capabilities of the TV detection equipment and any “confidence factor” statistic figures quoted to Justices of the Peace and Magistrates under oath in order to obtain search warrants.

For the avoidance of doubt I am not asking HOW the TV detectors work, but the provenance of the results that their detection parameters and/or statistics produce.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please answer the following questions.

Q1. Is the “confidence factor in percentage terms” actually output by the TV detector as described above? (Please answer Yes or No.)

If the answer to Q1 is Yes:
Q2a. What is the range of “confidence factor” percentages that the TV detector device can produce?

Q2b. What is the MINIMUM confidence factor percentage that the BBC will quote to a Justice of the Peace or Magistrate in order to apply for a search warrant?

If the answer to Q1 is No:
Q2c. What is the source of the confidence factor that is quoted to Magistrates and Justices of the Peace? (“97%” in this example)

Q3. How is the “confidence factor” percentage calculated?

Q4. Please state concisely what the “confidence factor” percentage is a function of and what variables are used in its calculation?

Q5. The statement says that the confidence factor in percentage terms in this particular case was “97%” of a “possible broadcast”. Are there statistics produced which may be quoted to Justices of the Peace and Magistrates to assist them to decide whether or not to grant search warrants that would indicate what the confidence factor ACTUALLY is? If so, what are they and are they provided?

Q6. In regard to the following excerpt sentence “If a receiver is being used to watch broadcast programmes then a positive reading is returned.”; Are there other circumstances in which a “positive reading” or "positive signal" is also returned? If so, what are they? (for example playing a DVD or video game)

Q7. Does the percentage “confidence factor” phrase referred to in paragraphs 5 and 6 refer to the output from the TV detector device in BOTH cases? Please answer Yes or No.

Q8. Does the detector provide three (3) separate outputs indicating “Received Signal Strength”, “Possible Broadcast” and “Confidence Factor Percentage”? If not, what are the outputs?

Q9. Is the “confidence factor” solely a function of the “Received Signal Strength” and “Possible Broadcast” TV detector output parameters?

Q10. Are Justices of the Peace or magistrates being made aware that the statistical “confidence factor” percentage of the TV detector may in fact be much LOWER if the “positive reading” were representing an ACTUAL (rather than 'possible') broadcast detected?

Q11. Is the 97% “confidence factor” quoted in the statement above merely the 2012 published BARB statistic that “97% of UK households have a television”?

Q12. Does the "TV Detector" exist at all? Please answer Yes or No.

I look forward to your answers to these questions.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. C Lee-Koo

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr Lee-Koo,

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 7th January 2013. 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 RFI20130026.

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

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Peter Jones left an annotation ()

They'll not like this request. All us compliant sheeple are meant to just believe that "detection" must work well, because they say it does.

Curious that it seems to work on empty houses sometimes.

S. Martin left an annotation ()

If you search this site it discloses that NO convictions have ever ben made with TV detector van evidence, so it cannot be accurate, credible, or even real.

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

An annotation has been removed from this thread following a request from the person who made it. He had inadvertently included a third party's personal information.

--

Richard - WhatDoTheyKnow.com volunteer

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

Further clarification to the FOI request above, the full text of the application for a search warrant in the public domain may be found here:
http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk/2011/...

Yours faithfully,

Mr. C Lee-Koo

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr C. Lee-Koo

Thank you for your email and for providing clarification on your request for information, reference - RFI20130093.

Kind regards

The Information Policy & Compliance Team

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882
Fax: 020 8008 2398

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr C Lee-Koo

 

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20130026

 

 

Yours sincerely,

The Information Policy and Complaince Team

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

BC2B6, Broadcast Centre

201 Wood Lane

London W12 7TP, UK

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 

 

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Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of British Broadcasting Corporation's handling of my FOI request 'Statements involving TV Detector evidence'.

I disagree that answers to my questions will prejudice the discharge of the BBC's obligations. Answering these questions will not cause harm to the BBC's ability to collect TV Licence fee unless of course, the sworn statement contains claims which are false or misleading. I expect that these questions to be answered truthfully and without further delay.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/st...

Yours faithfully,

C Lee-Koo

C Lee-Koo left an annotation ()

It is quite telling that the BBC refuses to answer Q11 regarding the '97% BARB statistic' as to whether or not it is the source of the 'confidence factor' referred to in the search warrant application. They have clearly considered all of my questions, since they answered Q12. Question 11 could safely be answered 'No' without any prejudice whatsoever to the operation of the BBC TV detection and Licence system, UNLESS the actual answer to question 11 is YES. For IF the answer is YES it brings into question (and disrepute) the entire basis on which the BBC applies for search warrants to JP's and magistrates. Absent an answer from the BBC, it is for the reader to decide. The BBC can easily resolve this question by answering the question truthfully.

Mark left an annotation ()

I can't see a legitimate law enforcement reason for not answering Q11, unless the answer is: YES.

Hopefully the Internal Review will sort it out.

doyle williams left an annotation ()

Another pack of lies from the BBC. The most worrying aspect of this particular set of lies is the BBC and Capita actually believe them!

S. Martin left an annotation ()

Lets look at a few facts:

The BBC has accepted millions, if not billions from the EU to portray it in a positive light, so is not impartial so has broken its contract with the British public. What has been done? sweet F/A, they have a lawful duty to be impartial and clearly are not.

They are operating a scam: they made profits last year which equates to much more than the revenue they received from licence fees, so why should we pay them.

They are unlawfully extracting money from a guillable British public to make programmes which they sell, licence, or distribute for a profit. If they are using our money to make programmes for profit, then wheres our share as we have invested.

Watchkeeper left an annotation ()

In answer to Q12 the BBC is keen to trot out its propaganda about "hand-held devices" and their extraordinary capabilities:

"I can confirm that TV Licensing continues to use detection technology (encompassing both vans and handheld devices) as one method of detecting evasion. Information about our hand-held detection devices is available on our website ..." where we read "...our enforcement officers have access to hand-held detection devices capable of detecting a TV within 20 seconds".

In accordance with its usual bluster and misinformation, the BBC fails to point out that the possession and/or use of a TV is not in itself a criminal offence. An offence is only committed if a TV is installed or used FOR THE PURPOSE of watching and/or recording TV programmes as they are broadcast. Hand-held (or any other) detectors do not detect PURPOSE, for we are told "these measure both the direction and strength of a signal ..." We are not told what signal this is, incidentally, nor whether it is relevant to illegal TV-watching..

Further, though Capita salesmen (the term "enforcement officers" is risible) may have access to hand-held detection devices (presumably to gaze in awe and wonder), they are not routinely used by them. Besides the plain statement from Capita itself that "we’ve moved FROM licence enforcement TO a more proactive, sales focused approach, including a successful sales operation" (Capita Annual report and accounts 2007, emphasis mine) the BBC has said that "detection equipment is complex to deploy as its use is strictly governed by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (British Broadcasting Corporation) Order 2001" (ICO Decision Notice FS50154106).

The myth of the intrepid "Enforcement Officers" roaming the streets with their hand-held detectors which "work with frightening efficiency" is an invention of the BBC's PR people. It ought to be ashamed of itself. See http://tinyurl.com/aofz98n for more information.

S. Martin left an annotation ()

If the detection devices were approved for evidencial purposes they would have been used as evidence in prosecutions, but no detection equipment evidence has been used to gain any prosecutions. Therefore if its never been used to gain a successful prosecution then why are magistrates issuing search warrants based on detector information.

S. Martin left an annotation ()

If you can't do it one way then do it another.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bb...

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr C. Lee-Koo,

We have received your request for an internal review relating to our handling of your request. The information you requested was about statements involving TV Detector evidence. Your request for an internal review was received 5 February 2013. We shall deal with the review as promptly as possible and, at the latest, within 30 working days. If you have any queries please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your internal review is IR2013010.

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
BC2B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane,
London, W12 7TP

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr C. Lee Koo,

In relation to your request for an internal review, can you please confirm that your request relates to RFI20130093, as our records show that we are still dealing with this request and you have not received our response.

Kind regards,

The Information Policy and Compliance team

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FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Lee-Koo

 

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI2013093.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

The Information Policy and Complaince Team

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

BC2B6, Broadcast Centre

201 Wood Lane

London W12 7TP, UK

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2882

Fax: 020 8008 2398

 

 

 

 

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Dear FOI Enquiries,

RFI20130026 is the subject of the internal review request.

You have incorrectly attached your response ending in 093 to this request.

Yours sincerely,

C Lee-Koo

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr C Lee-Koo,

We have received your request for an internal review relating to RFI20130026. The information you requested was relating to TV Licensing. Your request for an internal review was received on 18 February 2013. We shall deal with the review as promptly as possible and, at the latest, within 30 working days. If you have any queries please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your internal review is IR2013018.

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
BC2B6, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane,
London, W12 7TP

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi/
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

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Talbot Munce left an annotation ()

The 'detector' that the application refers too is a video camera with a zoom lens. The 97% probability is the camera operator making up his mind.

This is yet more technical woo being puked out by the BBC to fool a Justice of the Peace into granting a search warrant. Capita and it's goons knowingly committed a criminal offense by submitting deliberately false information. The occupier should have applied for Judicial review on those grounds and had the warrant quoshed. The BBC would then have been forced to pay damages.

Let's not be sucked back into the 'detection equipment' lies again that the BBC are so desperate to propagate. You cannot claim to have captured data as evidence to charge someone with a crime, and then refuse to submit both that data and the full workings of the device that captured it. If you were caught speeding you would be entitled to have full disclosure in court of the machine that supplied the speeding data, including all information relating to it's operation and most recent calibration. TV detection equipment is no different. The absence of such data is simply because no such device exists.

Talbot Munce
http://crimebodge.com

S. Martin left an annotation ()

The interesting bit is that a large proportion of properties which have been searched under warrants don't even have a TV in them, so how could they detect a signal.
Secondly, many more properties entered under warrant don't have a TV connected so they can receive live broadcasts, so more corroboration.

Talbot Munce left an annotation ()

Yes, you are right. In fact the methods that the BBC use to enforce this draconian tax - their absolute insistence that anyone who claims to be exempt from TV Licensing is a liar and a criminal and must prove their innocence - is a contravention of Article 12 of the Human Right's Act.

It's only a matter of time before somebody takes a stand against these deceitful thugs and cripples their unlawful methods in court.

http://crimebodge.com

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Mr C Lee Koo,

 

Please find attached our response to your request for an Internal Review
of our response to RFI20130026, reference IR2013018. Please accept our
sincere apologies for the delay in sending our response to you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

BBC Information Policy and Compliance

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2][BBC request email]

Tel: 020 8008 2883

Fax: 020 8008

[3]Description: Description: \\BBCFS2025\UserData$\myrien01\Documents\My
Pictures\BBC.png

 

 

 

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Peter:Brewster left an annotation ()

Seeing as the Tv licensing is an act and not a law then if you do not consent then no law can be broken and no prevention of crime should be taken into account and the info should be released.

A. Clerk (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The corrupt, lying BBC are finished. I wouldn't give them a single penny. I don't watch their corrupt propaganda channels anyhow and any person who does requires an assessment under the mental health act.

Joe Horner left an annotation ()

It would appear hat the only way this will ever be resolved is for someone to force the matter into court.

As long as TVL / BBC refuse to provide technical details of detector technology it's inconceivable that it could be used to support a case in court - it would essentially be saying to the court "Look, we've got this magic box that does what we say it does. Honest. But we won't let you or the defence know how, how reliably, or how many of them we have".

Even if it was allowed, the claim of "97% confidence" falls considerably short of the requirement for beyond reasonable doubt that's the test in a criminal proceeding. 97% sounds impressive but, even if true, it implies it will be wrong roughly one time in 33.

It also seems doubtful that a search warrant issued on the grounds of a secret technology, effectively described as above, which cannot be verified by anyone except the organisation applying for the warrant, would be found lawful if challenged as it would have been issued on the same basis of "we have evidence but we refuse to prove how reliable (or even real) it is".

There is a statement from the National Audit Office, which they may attempt to rely on, to the effect that their staff have seen the technology demonstrated "in controlled conditions" but a defendant must be given the opportunity to challenge evidence used against them, for which technical details would be required. Furthermore, the statement in no way supports any assertion that the technology also works reliably in real life "uncontrolled" conditions.

An analogy would be to suggest that a speed detector made with a hobby microcontroller board and cheap ultrasound detector - which would be easy to demonstrate in appropriately controlled conditions of range, speed, and other traffic - would be suitable for policing speed limits on the road where those conditions are vastly different.

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