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News TV Licensing Authority to deploy Wi-Fi sniffing vans

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Gareth Halfacree, 8 Aug 2016.

  1. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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  2. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Seeing as you only need a licence to view live broadcasts how, if it was even possible, tell the difference between someone watching live iPlayer versus its catch up service.

    And welcome back Mr G, hope you had a relaxing break. :)
     
  3. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I was thinking to myself, research projects that prove it's possible to detect Skype traffic in a WPA2-encrypted Wi-Fi traffic capture without decrypting it aside, it wouldn't be possible - then I hit upon a way to make it really, *really* easy when you - like the BBC and TVLA - have control over the remote server: packet pulsing.

    Basically, when someone hits play on a live stream, send a series of carefully timed packets before starting the stream proper. If the capture shows encrypted packets arriving in the same timed sequence, you know that encrypted traffic dump includes the live stream - without ever having to decrypt the packets or join the network.

    Yes, it would be difficult if there are other devices also communicating on the same network - but difficult does not equal impossible, and combined with the Skype example above could work well. (Assuming, of course, that the new "iPlayer detector vans" aren't the old fake, empty "TV detector vans" with new antennae on top, still doing nothing except acting as a scare tactic and moving billboard for the TVLA.)

    Ta! Two weeks in sunny Derbyshire this time. Not sure about relaxing, though: we did something with the little 'uns every single day, including a (CRAZY EXPENSIVE OH-EMM-GEE) trip to Alton Towers.
     
  4. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    I read somewhere they were looking at the pattern of packets being transmitted so they don't have to break encryption.


    Edit: I somehow missed Gareths post above but as I said I read something similar elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2016
  5. Pookie

    Pookie So this is permanence, love's shattered pride.

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    I call BS
     
  6. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I've just now realised reading this that I've not actually needed a TV license for quite some time, despite having continued to pay for it via DD :duh:
     
  7. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Whoopsie. Aye, you only need a TV Licence if you use (not own, use) equipment for the purposes of receiving live (or the somewhat vague "substantially live") broadcast television (and, now, live streaming television via the interwibble). Massive TV you only use for watching Blu-rays and playing games, with a bit of catch-up streaming and Netflix on the side? Zero requirement for a licence, regardless of what the Capita goons TVLA sends out will try to tell you.
     
  8. Madness_3d

    Madness_3d Bit-Tech/Asus OC Winner

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    Not to encourage avoidance after the change, but

    * ahem *

    Ethernet?
     
    sparkyboy22 likes this.
  9. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    It's not so much that I didn't know the requirements, more than it's been coming out via DD for years and I just kind of forgot about it... I'm not sure what's worse :worried:

    You've described precisely my scenario. The media room is movie/game central, the other TVs are Netflix/Amazon. Whilst there has been live TV played in the last year, it's been the odd F1 race, tennis match spot or of news/cooking as background filler that I could happily do without (i.e. when I don't want to think about what I want to watch because I'm not really watching it, I'll just put on whatever's on), or the in-laws wanting to watch Emmerdale or the Queen's speech at christmas, which I could definitely do without.

    I sincerely hope I get the inspectors round once I've canned it. I have a perception that they're just the worst authoritarian-delusions-of-grandeur types that I'm just going to love screwing with :lol:
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2016
  10. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I had them threaten to come over, when I lived in a block of flats with a friend - Neither of us owned a TV, equipment to receive it, and iPlayer wasn't a thing back then.

    They sent six letters in four weeks, and then two weeks after they claimed they'd send someone round, sent another letter saying they had visited the premises during the work day, and determined we had a television thus owed them a lot of money.

    Except, the lounge only had airsoft guns and empty boxes that they'd have been able to see through the window, and we were both at work..

    TV Licenses people are weird and fantastic at making **** up. Still. Never paid them anything.
     
  11. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I'm thinking... what about guests that decide to watch iPlayer on their phone or laptop whilst they visit?

    As the requirement says (or will say come later in the year) use of iPlayer on mobile devices requires a license, seems to be that so long as the consumer of the media has a license, it matters not where it is being consumed? Not that I have lots of guests using iPlayer, that I'm aware of, but if I'm going to be obstinate with the inspectors then I may as well be righteous as well.

    EDIT: Good news! I was only paid up until the end of August. Canned.
     
  12. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Now, this is an interesting one. The old Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations had a specific thing about mobile devices: you were covered by your household's TV licence when using a portable TV out and about, if and only if it were wholly powered by an internal battery. So, in theory, the new version of the regulations (which I admit to not having yet read) should have the same exception: a battery-powered device brought into your home and used to watch broadcast (internet) television is not your problem, but the responsibility of the person who brought it with them.

    Where it gets murky is the "wholly powered by an internal battery" bit: if I plug my laptop into the mains to charge its internal battery and watch iPlayer then, is that still a portable device? Given that the original regulations were written when Sir Clive was still pushing his pocket-sized CRT TVs, I'd hope that it's been updated to something you can actually apply to a laptop without a bunch of mental aerobics; knowing how these things work, though, I would be unsurprised if it were the exact same wording as back in the day.
     
  13. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    Here in Slovakia there is no way to avoid the monthly 4.64 euro fee - if you have electricity, you have to pay. No exceptions.
     
  14. MadGinga

    MadGinga oooh whats this do?

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    The BBC really needs to move with the time, stop calling it a TV Licence, and accept what they really are; an institutionalised Netflix.
    People who expect the BBC content to be freely available but baulk at paying the TV licence frustrate me somewhat.

    This whole "pay if you watch it live", but don't if you watch it later, is pretty stupid.
     
  15. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Ah, what if that the laptop is being wholly powered by the battery, even when the battery itself is charging?

    I'm nigh on certain there's going to be a pretty wide berth for various interpretations of any wording. Isn't is a regulation that regulations things like this are always at least a decade behind the real world?:rolleyes:

    The "pay for live, not for catch-up" was moronic, but I suspect that was just a hangover from a time where "live" either meant for certain BBC content, or "live" was they only way they would stand a chance of policing it.

    The new rule makes more sense, in that it's any BBC content at all - live or catch-up, but the fact that you're still prevented from watching broadcast TV from any number of other providers is still slightly moronic, and you can still of course listen to BBC radio or read BBC news (I assume? Not that I do either)

    I have zero expectation of the BBC content being provided for free, I do however resent funding the BBC for consumption of other content, and the gestapo tactics that go into enforcing it.
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2016
  16. zimano

    zimano Member

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    I brought this up when I called them, after a little wait they said "While we dont discuss our detection methods, I can confirm that we dont snoop on folks wifi to see if they are watching bbc iplayer". That was it in essence and you could tell they were reading out.
     
  17. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Create an IP list of all peoples watching iPlayer
    Cross-reference IPs with known address'
    Check if address' have paid for TV license

    So hard?
     
  18. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Given that it's impossible to tie an IP address to a street address without a court order for the information from an ISP: yes, so hard.
     
  19. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    I do question why they don't just use the same setup as Sky and put on a DRM box and also join up with the likes of Sky and Virgin so people can use their box as an alternative. Pay the fee, enable the box and get a log on for the iPlayer. Yes, log ons can be shared, but it can be shared for netflix and any other online paid media service.

    It seems weird to me to pay people to harass residents of houses when they could just put a technological solution in place that has existed for decades.

    I do resent being hassled and forced to pay for something that I don't want and generally think is of awful quality. Unlike in the UK, if I have so much as a clothes hanger up on the roof or anything in the house that can be used to intercept a television signal, even a broken television I am liable to pay. Whilst a tv would be nice to kickback and watch some youtube or netflix on I can't even have that without having to pay the license.
     
  20. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    There's a good reason for this: the TV Licence covers all live TV, but the money (largely) only goes to the BBC. The BBC can't force ITV, C4, C5, and all the rest of the free-to-air commercial channels to implement DRM; said commercial channels also have no reason to do so. "Hey, one of our competitors wants us to spend millions implementing DRM so people need a special box and we end up losing a bunch of viewers as a result having a direct impact on our advertising income."

    Now, in terms of iPlayer it's true that Auntie Beeb could require a login to use it; said login could be provided as a unique number attached to your TV Licence. Perhaps that's where things are going: they've already blocked VPNs and Tor from accessing it at all...
     

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