The BBC has been blasted by privacy campaigners, after plans were revealed this week to enforce the TV license by monitoring domestic Wi-Fi networks.
The Telegraph revealed on Saturday that the BBC planned to deploy detection vans, which could detect packets of information being sent on Wi-Fi networks in people’s homes.
It follows a series of pushes from the BBC to have people pay for catch-up TV viewed using their iPlayer website and app.
Speaking in The Telegraph, a spokesman for Privacy International said: “While TV Licensing [officers] have long been able to examine the electromagnetic spectrum to watch for and investigate incorrect usage of their services, the revelation that they are potentially developing technology to monitor home Wi-Fi networks is startlingly invasive”.
The BBC has denied that the detector vans will be used to spy on internet use, and a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) said the new technology would work similarly to existing techniques.
A BBC spokesman said: “There has been considerable inaccurate reporting this weekend about how TV Licensing will detect people breaking the law by watching BBC iPlayer without a licence.
“While we don’t discuss the details of how detection works for obvious reasons, it is wrong to suggest that our technology involves capturing data from private wi-fi networks”.
BBC bosses are now set to appear before the parliamentary culture select committee to explain their plans.