back to article Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC that markets its products around the world, has told Australia's government that heavy users of “IP obfuscation tools” are so suspicious that internet service providers (ISPs) should consider them as likely content pirates. The organisation states that case in a submission (PDF) to …

  1. Ole Juul

    BBC Worldwide

    Is it even in their mandate to meddle with lawmaking in other countries?

    1. CliveM

      Re: BBC Worldwide

      Yes. BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC rather than the Beeb itself. It has a duty to maximise its revenues for the benefit of the BBC and ultimately the British licence payer.

      On the other hand, this does seem a ham-fisted approach. Even with a VPN the endpoints are visible which provides a lot more clues than this submission suggests. If you spend the working day VPNed into a major employer with a lot of valuable IP it's a fair assumption you are telecommuting or remoting in for some other legitimate purpose. This is true regardless of how much traffic flows back and forth.

      There are a few justifiable reasons for the "VPN service" providers that encrypt the first hop after which it reverts to clear text but be fair, that isn't how they are marketed, or why most of them are bought. That is to evade blocks and/or provide a layer of anonymity for illegitimate traffic of various forms.

      Ignoring that simple and easily made distinction suggests fuck all thought has actually gone in to this rather than a knee-jerk "We have to protect our property" response. Fuck all is thus the amount of weight it should receive when reaching policy decisions. Sadly it doesn't seem to work like that.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: BBC Worldwide

        I move half a terabyte a month through VPN that is legitimate. It's part of being a journalist. I will sometimes get copies of VMs for analysis, or troves of e-mails...but I should go to jail because the beeb thinks that's "suspicious"?

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: BBC Worldwide

          Dear downvoter: I have a question for you.

          What is the difference between saying "heavy downloaders are probably pirates" and "black people in baggy clothes are probably shoplifters?"

          Where does the burden of proof lie? On the internet subscriber? Or on the accuser? Are we innocent unless proven "probably" guilty? Or are we guilty until proven "probably" innocent?

          Please, do explain your logic.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            Not just journalists Trevor, when I work from home, I am required to use a VPN to access the company network.

            Likewise, our support department has around 200 VPNs set up to allow them to access our customer networks, to allow them access to the servers we look after and to remote onto problem machines to sort them out.

            All of those must be moving pirated Only Fools and Horses around! Idiots!

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              @loopy lou

              A professional journalist is also something of a historian. We know damned well that nothing begins and ends exact where we are told it must be considered. Everything chain reacts. Considerations of this one event must take into account the inevitable scope creep. The loss of mission. How humans - in their very human way - will rapidly let this get out of control.

              And mark my fucking words, if we allow laws to be passed that demand we prove what is in our tunnels, going to jail for refusing - or for what's in them - will happen very quickly.

              1. Annihilator
                Black Helicopters

                Re: BBC Worldwide

                "if we allow laws to be passed that demand we prove what is in our tunnels, going to jail for refusing - or for what's in them - will happen very quickly."

                We're pretty much already there, what with having to reveal passwords for any encrypted files we might have.

                http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25745989

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            "What is the difference between saying "heavy downloaders are probably pirates" and "black people in baggy clothes are probably shoplifters?""

            The difference is that shoplifting is a criminal act of theft, and home copyright infringement isn't.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              The difference is that shoplifting is a criminal act of theft, and home copyright infringement isn't.

              Drink-driving isn't a "criminal act of theft" either, does that mean it's OK?

              The pointless argument about whether making an illegal copy is theft, or some other offence, is irrelevant. It's against the law, until and unless you get the law changed. Live with it and stop making specious anonymous excuses.

              1. NumptyScrub

                Re: BBC Worldwide

                quote: "Drink-driving isn't a "criminal act of theft" either, does that mean it's OK?

                The pointless argument about whether making an illegal copy is theft, or some other offence, is irrelevant. It's against the law, until and unless you get the law changed. Live with it and stop making specious anonymous excuses."

                Actually the point being made, is that anyone who owns a car and is seen to be making frequent trips to the pub, should be considered a potential drink driver, and that there should be "mechanisms in place" to automatically determine if they were actually sober when making the journey. If those mechanisms cannot determine if the driver was definitely sober, then they should be assumed to be a drink-driver and the appropriate measures taken.

                Guilty until proven innocent is just one part of this erosion of public rights, the other being the automatic, warrantless inspection and data gathering of all the driving public as a whole.

                Presumption of guilt automatically makes it "to be avoided" in my opinion. Any system based upon a presumption of guilt inevitably ends up as Judge Death or some facsimile thereof.

                1. veti Silver badge
                  Mushroom

                  Re: BBC Worldwide

                  Believe it or not, BBC Worldwide would agree with the assertions that you're innocent until proven guilty, and there are many legitimate reasons to use VPNs.

                  All they ask is that ISPs should (and they even offer to share the costs of doing this) take steps to identify customers who are likely to be abusing the system. Then they send warnings and "education" notices. Before any kind of "punishment" is applied (e.g. bandwidth throttling), the user should have several opportunities to appeal, state their case, and the whole thing be reviewed by an independent authority.

                  If that's not enough safeguards, what exactly would satisfy you people?

                  (Cue downvotes, if anyone is still even reading this far down the hatethread.)

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: BBC Worldwide

                "The pointless argument about whether making an illegal copy is theft, or some other offence, is irrelevant. It's against the law"

                No - no it isn't. It's not illegal to just download or stream. Only to distribute. If you think that's not the case, then find me a single case of anyone prosecuted just for downloading ever in the UK?

          4. Indolent Wretch

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            I think what the BBC is saying is yes you're guilty and that you should be arrested by the company that shipped you the backpack....

            Or something... It's hard to follow.

          5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            >"black people in baggy clothes are probably shoplifters?"

            Or saying BBC employees are probably pedophiles

          6. pear

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            Well, to be honest, one is a bit racist.

          7. Fluffy Bunny
            Devil

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            "Where does the burden of proof lie?" - obviously on the poor slob who can't afford a layer.

            1. Hans 1 Silver badge

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              >"Where does the burden of proof lie?" - obviously on the poor slob who can't afford a layer.

              I love that typo ... ;-)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC Worldwide

          ' but I should go to jail because the beeb thinks that's "suspicious"? '

          They are stating there should be mechanisms to verify that the traffic is legitimate, so in honesty I'd say you're being a bit dramatic there. Be punished if it's found to be illegitimate would seem to be more accurate to me. The determination/proof of legitimacy and how that works with journalistic confidentiality (or whatever - I don't know how these things work,) in your and other journalists' cases is likely to be thorny, obviously. I suppose the VMs might be presented as a cause for concern.

          -- Edit - this isn't a response to your complaint about the downvote; that wasn't me.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            "They are stating there should be mechanisms to verify that the traffic is legitimate,"

            So I am guilty unless proven innocent, and that's perfectly okay with you? what's more, I have no rights to confidentiality, anonymity, privacy or protecting my sources? As soon as I am suspected of copyright infringement all my other rights disappear unless I prove that my traffic was legitimate?

            And if the traffic I am working with is the next Snowden release? Or proof of corruption in the office of the ISP criminality investigator? What if I what I am transferring is my collection of personal sex tapes? Investigators and/or copyright holders have the right to view all of this at their whim because of their accusation that I am a copyright infringer?

            They have zero proof of anything if I am using an encrypted tunnel. Zero. Merely accusations.

            And what will happen to you if you're VPNing while black? Summary executions? Jesus H mother of almighty Christ, man...the scope of what you suggest terrifies me.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              "So I am guilty unless proven innocent, and that's perfectly okay with you? "

              Nope, it's not okay and I never claimed it was. You talked about going to jail because of suspicion, which wasn't what they said, either. That's what I was addressing with my first statement.

              "what's more, I have no rights to confidentiality, anonymity, privacy or protecting my sources?"

              This coming from the man who some time back threatened to - can't remember it verbatim - "use everything within my power to find your real name and name and shame you" with regard to another AC because you didn't like what he was saying. Should I accuse you of thinking anonymity's OK only so long as it's something you approve of, then?

              "And if the traffic I am working with is the next Snowden release? Or proof of corruption in the office of the ISP criminality investigator? What if I what I am transferring is my collection of personal sex tapes? Investigators and/or copyright holders have the right to view all of this at their whim because of their accusation that I am a copyright infringer?"

              Again, not what I said.

              "They have zero proof of anything if I am using an encrypted tunnel. Zero. Merely accusations."

              Yes - I know, thanks.

              "And what will happen to you if you're VPNing while black? Summary executions? Jesus H mother of almighty Christ, man...the scope of what you suggest terrifies me."

              I know you like to post things to evoke emotions in people, but really ... And again, I'm not agreeing with what the Beeb said, just pointing out you were misrepresenting it.

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: BBC Worldwide

                "This coming from the man who some time back threatened to - can't remember it verbatim - "use everything within my power to find your real name and name and shame you" with regard to another AC because you didn't like what he was saying. Should I accuse you of thinking anonymity's OK only so long as it's something you approve of, then?"

                You're free to accuse me of anything you like, but the difference here is that I have no more access than that anonymous coward. I must unmask him through unearthing sources, analyzing his writing, catching him up. I don't get to use overarching superpowers to track his IP address, snoop on his login capabilities or so forth.

                I have to build a case. Find evidence. Prove who he is hte hard way and that what he is saying is wrong. I am the accuser and the burden of proof in that regard is on me. As it should be.

                Is anonymity sacrosanct? No. But this is the difference between a targeted investigation and a dragnet. I have a suspicion that someone is using anonymity on the internet to disseminate falsehoods, outright lies, and subtle misinformation. I believe that his actions are dangerous and detrimental to society as a whole, but my suspicion does not give me the right to superpowers and I have to investigate and build a case.

                Once I have my case to hand, I do entirely intend to go to those who have their finger on the button and demand something be done. But I refuse to ask them to use their access to pull his records and information to bypass his anonymity. That's the bridge too far.

                "I know you like to post things to evoke emotions in people, but really ... And again, I'm not agreeing with what the Beeb said, just pointing out you were misrepresenting it."

                I don't see how. The beeb said that if we use a VPN tunnel combined with heavy usage we should be considered copyright infringers and have to prove that our traffic is legitimate. You agreed with this.

                That means you are saying that we should accept being considered guilty unless proven innocent. That suspicion by a power-that-is is enough to shift the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused. You can try to doll it up as much as you like, but the instant you demand that anyone "verify that their traffic is legitimate" as opposed to force the accuser to prove that the traffic is illegitimate you have created a system whereby we are all guilty until proven innocent.

                If you want to create a system wherein "VPN + heavy usage" is viewed as a valid reason to open an investigation into an account, well...I won't like it, but I can't really counter that one easily, either. That investigation should then have to gather and provide evidence before taking action. It should at no point have the right to force someone to "prove their traffic is legitimate."

                Ask for such proof? Sure. Even inform them that failure to provide such proof will mean that the investigation moves from a casual bit of bureaucracy into something more detailed. But failure to prove what they are pushing through the tunnel should never be a reason to take any action beyond "further investigation" and it absolutely shouldn't be used as a rationale for sanctions.

                This is the fine line that is being danced around here. I don't claim to be the living embodiment of perfect morality or ethics...but by $deity I'm nowhere near so fucked up as to say "VPN + heavy usage = prove your innocence".

                1. Ole Juul

                  Re: BBC Worldwide

                  I'm going to go out and get myself a pair of baggy pants and a VPN!

                  Don't laugh. I'm not just trying to feel young again. I think that the age group who reacts to the world like that, is indeed aware of the current injustices and will move on. Those old farts at the BBC and MPAA and so on, aren't going to be around for ever.

                2. Cipher
                  FAIL

                  Re: BBC Worldwide

                  "You're free to accuse me of anything you like, but the difference here is that I have no more access than that anonymous coward. I must unmask him through unearthing sources, analyzing his writing, catching him up. "

                  And this would prove what? That you stalk people you disagree with and NetKop them? You're proud of this? All because *you* claim what the AC sez is wrong? Doesn't the AC have the right to his opinions or take on matters? Or is it just you that have that right?

                  Might I suggest you make your case, refute his points and let the marketplace of ideas pick the winner. You sound more than a bit obessive...

                  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                    Re: BBC Worldwide

                    "And this would prove what? That you stalk people you disagree with and NetKop them? You're proud of this? All because *you* claim what the AC sez is wrong? Doesn't the AC have the right to his opinions or take on matters? Or is it just you that have that right?

                    Might I suggest you make your case, refute his points and let the marketplace of ideas pick the winner. You sound more than a bit obessive..."

                    Freedom of speech isn't absolute. It never has been. And when what you say becomes actually dangerous laws in virtually every country allow for action to be taken. I honestly believe that the AC in question's bold-faced falsehoods are a danger to readers. That leaves me with two moral choices: challenge him at every turn (which is impossible, as he appears to be paid to astroturf full time, whereas I have work to do) or put the effort in to prove he's violating the rules and have him censured.

                    Similarly, the "marketplace of ideas" concept only works if both sides are being forthright (or at least as forthright as they know how to be.) When one party to a debate is outright lying and has zero moral compunction about doing so then they can say anything and proving it becomes nearly impossible, especially if they manage to be vague and weaselly enough about what they're saying.

                    What's more, most of my family are shrinks. The tools and techniques of manipulation and coercion are fairly well known to me. They are deployed by this individual with great skill.

                    In addition, who you are matters a great deal in the arguments you present. When a lot of what you are presenting is forceful opinion as opposed to dry facts that can be dispassionately analyzed the individual spouting the opinion matters.

                    So, unless you are one of those people who (wrongly) believe that all humans are impervious to manipulation and coercion, that we are all perfectly rational individuals who always make rational choices (provable bullshit, by the way) then what this fellow is up to very, very wrong. I am attempting to gather enough evidence to prove it.

                    Let's say I see a car park itself just outside my condo complex every single night and stay there, engine running, for 12 hours a night, every night. People come up to the car, the window is rolled down, some furtive movements that look like items being exchanged occur and the person leaves. Dozens of people interact with this car ever single night for weeks. The car is always in the same place.

                    Let's say that I get the license plate number, perhaps some video of the exchanges, and maybe even proof that exchanges with minors. I wait patiently and get a few shots of the faces of the folks in the car. I then check this against publicly available databases for local gangbangers in an attempt to determine which of the various local police forces and/or which specific task force I should bring the information to in order to achieve the quickest response.

                    Is that stalking? Or being through? Or should no citizen ever report such things because that's a violation of the rights of the drug dealer?

                    As far as I'm concerned, analyzing the actions of the drug dealer while they are in public, in front of my condo complex is not stalking. Following the bugger home could be stalking, and not something I'd do. But gathering intel on their activities in public in front of my home, and then figuring out A) should something be done about this B) who the hell are these people and C) who best to report this to all seems perfectly rational to me.

                    And thus it is with the anonymous coward in question. I believe that what he is doing is reprehensible. Not because "disagreeing with Trevor Pott" is somehow bad - for the love of $deity, please disagree with about things! I'm no bastion of perfection or absolute integrity! - but because of a combination of the techniques used and the sheer volume of posts.

                    In point of fact, the scope of the operation is part of the issue. It is a fairly well known group psychology technique that the more you repeat something (and the more you repeat it under differing circumstances) the more you can convince people of anything, even if it is demonstrably false. If you encounter a lie told as truth at every turn you will eventually accept it as truth, often questioning your own sanity and/or perception of the world at large.

                    This is one of the reason astroturfing campaigns are so viciously effective. Look at - for example - the Tea Party. The entire thing was functionally a Kotch Bothers propaganda arm funded by them through FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity and a few other outfits. They through massive amounts of money and manpower at it and it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams*.

                    Personally, I like a good, vigorous debate. A great example is this thread. There are people disagreeing with me here and I think that's a good thing. Many of you have valid points, and they need to be raised. My morality and ethics deserve questioning just as much as anyone else', and - believe it or not - I do honestly consider the points made by those arguing in opposition to the views I present.

                    That doesn't mean that I have been convinced that I am wrong - so far on the topics in this thread, I have not been so convinced - but I believe that you are all right to raise the issues and let others decide. I am just as capable of hypocrisy and simply outright being wrong as anyone else out there.

                    With the exception of when someone hides their bullshit under the anonymous coward button, if I find someone particularly annoying (say, for exmaple, jake), then I can simply "ignore" them. It's a feature us "gold vultures" get. And that's a great solution to folks like Matt Bryant or jake.

                    These are annoying twatdangles that irritate the piss out of me, but they don't present their arguments using the tricks of the psychomanipulative trade. More to the point, they have the courage to allow their comments to be consistently attached to a single pesudonym, so their commenting history can be easily reviewed and someone reading the tripe they have on offer can make an informed decision about believe (or not) what they have to say. (Something, BTW, that the anonymous coward very purposefully prevents by using the AC button for every single post.)

                    I believe very strongly that we all have an ethical duty to one another. The Register's comments section is a community. One where the "police" are overburdened and only get to attend to issues on a very part time basis.

                    The last time I raised an issue about a commenter with the powers that be (Eadon) they nuked the individual completely. Not just a suspension, or even a ban, but an actual nuke. Expunged everything the person ever wrote from the database.

                    That wasn't what I wanted at all. I was thinking a suspension was a good plan for the simple fact that the individual in question was attacking the writers of the publication, and going way overboard. Sadly, it was long enough ago I don't remember too many of the details - just the broad strokes - and by nuking the entire posting history I can't just call it up and say "here are the hundred or so posts over a two day span that made me raise the flag".

                    In this case we have an AC I think is a dozen times as much of an issue as Eadon ever could have been, in that I honestly and truly believe this AC is setting out to manipulate and coerce people to their detriment. But I don't believe in simply asking the overburdened "police" of this little community to Ferguson the fellow because that's easiest. Instead, I intent to learn from my mistakes by gathering the evidence, making my case and seeking a rational and proportionate response.

                    Now, if if you have a problem with the above, that's your right. But at least take the time to understand the situation beyond the mundane simplicities of easily digested "sound bites".

                    *See http://www.npr.org/2011/02/25/134040226/in-wis-union-battle-focus-on-billionaire-brothers and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_activities_of_the_Koch_brothers for a decent overview. "Five years ago, my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity," David Koch said at an AFP rally in 2009. "And it's beyond my wildest dreams how AFP has grown into this enormous organization." Etc.

                    1. Pigeon
                      Thumb Up

                      Re: BBC Worldwide

                      Jake is back. Good stuff. I Think you work too hard.

                      Trevor Pigeon

                    2. Cipher

                      Re: BBC Worldwide

                      So your idea of "dangerous" is a man, using his own money, supporting an elected Governor? Who won the recall by an educated and more liberal than most electorate? Whose point was to require that union members pay a bit more, more in line with what their counterparts in private enterprise pay for their portion of a benefits package?

                      My God, thank you for fighting this fight! Where would we, the unenlightened great unwashed, be without our betters doing our thinking for us.

                      I was wondering what it was that the AC had written that had you so disturbed you would spare no effort to silence him. I thought maybe he was advocating murdering people or something, but gasp, it turns out it is far worse than that. The evil doer dared have a different political persusion than you.

                      Clearly he needs to be named and shamed and put in the public stocks for his thought crime!!

                      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                        Re: BBC Worldwide

                        As a matter of fact, I do consider the Kotch brothers to be highly dangerous and a massive detriment to society as a whole. And I do believe in transparency regarding political funding and limits to that funding. I also believe Citizens United was one of the biggest mistakes the United States has ever made and that the influence of any one individual over politics via monetary donation need to be limited. (Though I understand why that's not at all popular amongst corporations or the rich.)

                        If you do not - or cannot - understand the whys and wherefores of that, well then it's no surprise that you and I have some radically differing ethical beliefs as regards the extent of freedom of speech.

                        I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you're probably one of those who believe that freedom of speech should be absolute because you don't believe that "manipulation" of others is even possible. You probably are one of those who believes in the innate right to "convince" someone to do what you want using any technique whatsoever short of the application of physical force.

                        I wonder if you believe in emotional or psychological abuse, or if you believe that is something made up by "liberal hippies?" *shrug* I could, of course, be wrong about your beliefs in this matter, but your arguments sounds suspiciously similar to the kind of ultra individualist tripe I've heard before...and flat out don't buy.

                        I don't have a problem if you have different political beliefs than I do. I really don't. But I do have a problem with anyone of any political persuasion using psychological manipulation as a means to their ends. And just so we're clear, there are examples of individuals and organizations that do just that on both sides of USian politics, and in most other countries I have studied.

                        The difference is, a lot of those other countries have taken significant steps to outlaw it. (Though much to my shame, Canada's conservative party has spent the better part of the past decade trying their damnedest to dismantle such protections.)

                        The world isn't black and white, and when you wade into the grey things become very, very fuzzy.

                        1. Cipher

                          Re: BBC Worldwide

                          " I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you're probably one of those who believe that freedom of speech should be absolute because you don't believe that "manipulation" of others is even possible."

                          The act of attempting to persuade another to see your point is now the heinous crime of "thought manipulation?" This can be applied to anyone making an argument for their side. But some arguments are more equal than other arguments, eh?

                          And BTW, Citizens United also allows Labor Unions the same rights as it does the evil greedy corporations.

                          Yes count me amongst the free speech freaks of the world.

                          Short of inciting crime or putting people's lives in direct danger, freedom of spech should approach absolute. Tryanny is otherwise...

                          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                            Re: BBC Worldwide

                            "The act of attempting to persuade another to see your point is now the heinous crime of "thought manipulation?" This can be applied to anyone making an argument for their side. But some arguments are more equal than other arguments, eh?"

                            Not at all. Laying out your argument for others to consider and/or act upon is not and should never be banned. No matter how vile your argument is. That said, "laying out your argument" is completely different from "manipulating people". Scope and methodology matter and they are the difference between debate and manipulation.

                            "And BTW, Citizens United also allows Labor Unions the same rights as it does the evil greedy corporations."

                            And why should labour unions have the right to manipulate others? Two wrongs make a right? Also: not all corporations are greedy and a great many are not evil (though a great many are).

                            "Short of inciting crime or putting people's lives in direct danger, freedom of spech should approach absolute. Tryanny is otherwise..."

                            Well I strenuously disagree with you. The world is not binary. There are gradations of acceptability and there are limits to the methodologies one should be allowed to employ in making their voices heard, regardless of your political persuasion or which arguments you are putting forth.

                            One thing does jump out at me in your comments, however. The strawmen you are injecting into my arguments imply very heavily that you believe I am a supporter of your political opposition (you appear to be a USian Republican) and you have apparently ascribed to me every one of the political beliefs that you associate with "the enemy". Unquestioning support for Labour Unions, for example.

                            It should be pointed out that A) I'm not American. B) I am something of a centrist (by Canadian standards, anyways) with a belief in fiscal conservatism, but social progressiveness. My beliefs are fairly nuanced and not fully represented by any political party in any country I am aware of, though Canada's Liberal party and I currently agree on more of the broad strokes than any of the other parties here seem to.

                            A good example of where things are not remotely so black and white is that I do absolutely support the right of workers to collectively bargain - and hence the right for labour unions to exist - however, I believe that there needs to be strict controls on the powers and scope of labour unions specifically because of the historicity of their involvement with the political process and the use of some frankly appalling tactics of manipulation on their own members.

                            Collective bargaining of workers to represent those workers as a unified front to employers? Fully support. That same entity involving itself in municipal, provincial or federal politics? Absolutely, 100% against. As stringently as I am against the involvement of corporations in same.

                            I am for the right of the individual to make informed decisions. That means transparency of all major social constructs, for corporations to unions to government and beyond. Individuals deserve privacy and human rights; social constructs do not. I do not accept corporations, unions or governments as "people" excepting as minimally necessary to perform their function in our society.

                            "Influencing people" is not one of those functions. "Manipulating people" is absolutely not, and in my opinion should be considered a criminal act. (Again, this is about the methods, not he message.)

                            Social constructs such as corporations, unions, governments, NGOs and so forth exist to serve the people. We do not exist to serve them. The should stay the hell out of our business - and our heads. Personally, I'd lump religion in there too; if I want to join your religion, I'll do so. You shouldn't have the right to spend squillions evangelizing at me attempting to "convert" me.

                            And that's what it's about. Choice. The right to make informed, rational choices with as free and clear a mind as possible. Not under threat of coercion, not with someone or something holding money, your job or some other aspect of your future hostage. The right to learn, to research and to make up one's mind without our own psyches, instincts and history being used against us.

                            Evidently, you don't feel we should have that choice. Manipulation of the weak by the powerful seems to be just groovy by you, and the more money you have the more you should be allowed to exert control over others, politics and $deity knows what else.

                            And if my beliefs make me evil to you - or anyone else - then I'm okay with that. Can you say the same?

                            1. Cipher

                              Re: BBC Worldwide

                              You fail to define manipulation in any meaningful way, it appears to me that any position you disagree with falls under the umbrella of postions being somehow forced on people. Choice? Are you saying people are forced to read/listen to these positions you dislike? OP ED pieces are somehow mandatory reading, watching certain newscasts required?

                              How exactly would you prohibit such "manipulation?"

                              Who decides which opinions are "manipulation" and which are attempts at persusasion?

                              Who decides which thoughts are good, which are bad?

                              You?

                              Citizens United was affirmed as correct by minds who saw that political speech should never be regulated or muted. I'm certain this angers many who wish it was and see it as an impediment to the furtherance of their agendas...

                              I for one claim no special powers to know what the workings of other minds entails, wether they are being convinced or if they are being manipulated. Anyone who claims they can is delusional. Those who wish to stifle the political speech of another, for whatever reasons, are tyrants.

                              Your defining me as a US Republican, while wrong, is nothing more than ad hominem. You wish to paint anyone who dosen't agree with your nebulous definitions, or your political agenda as a bogeyman and have choosen that particular stripe to paint them with.

                              It is not your place, or anyone's for that matter, to decide/define "thought manipulation." Elitists love to try, after all they know better than others and do these things for the people's own good, being superior to them and all...

                              Your worldview leads to a totalitarian state...

                              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                                Re: BBC Worldwide

                                You fail to define manipulation in any meaningful way

                                Actually, I have defined it several times, but by adding the little addition "in any meaningful way" you are giving yourself an out to simply say anything I come up whit isn't "meaningful" if it would prevent you from forcing people to believe what you want them to believe.

                                it appears to me that any position you disagree with falls under the umbrella of postions being somehow forced on people.

                                Demonstrably wrong. I have an issue with the methods, not the message. Disagree with me all you like. $deity knows I can be as wrong as the next man. Don't manipulate people.

                                "Choice? Are you saying people are forced to read/listen to these positions you dislike? OP ED pieces are somehow mandatory reading, watching certain newscasts required?"

                                Actually, to a certain extent, yes. Is one single Op Ed piece an issue? No. Ten or Twenty over a decade? No. IS even one a day, from the same identifiable individual an issue? Provably not.

                                Where it becomes an issue is where concerted bombardment campaigns are used; where the message is repeated virtually verbatim by multiple sources on every channel imaginable. Writers of various flavours, television, radio, banner ads, text ads, billboards, you name it.

                                If you want to kick it up a notch of unacceptability, start paying people in positions of authority - ministers, teachers, guardians, politicians, celebrities - to repeat the message.

                                Now I've just described traditional advertising, which is bad enough. But today's world doesn't end there. In today's world you can use massive amounts of cheaply available research into various socio-economic - and increasingly, Facebook, Google and Microsoft-provided individual - pain points to craft ever more individually targeted messages.

                                So far from your simplistic portrayal of my objecting to one person saying "this is what I believe" we have moved into "you should believe this" on all mediums at all ours of the day and night straight through to "I know that [issue] is a problem for you and [emotions] are causing [consequences] we will alleviate this if only you support what we believe."

                                Only now we don't need to get to know the people we're trying to bamboozle. We can do this either automatically or using an "accuracy by volume" approach. After all, repeat something enough times and even the person doing the chanting starts to believe it.

                                How exactly would you prohibit such "manipulation?

                                I would ban (or at the very least heavily regulate) certain methods of disseminating "opinion", with more stringent regulation for different purposes and types of entities.

                                Who decides which opinions are "manipulation" and which are attempts at persusasion?

                                An opinion cannot be manipulation. The means used, however, very much can be.

                                Who decides which thoughts are good, which are bad?

                                "Bad thoughts" actually do have a definition, and usually amount to issues on the schizophrenia spectrum. Usually that's something along the lines of "causing harm to others", and they are typically as unwelcome to the individual experiencing them as they are to those who might end up on the receiving end.

                                Citizens United was affirmed as correct by minds who saw that political speech should never be regulated or muted. I'm certain this angers many who wish it was and see it as an impediment to the furtherance of their agendas...

                                Citizens United was the biggest mistake that the United States ever made.

                                I for one claim no special powers to know what the workings of other minds entails, wether they are being convinced or if they are being manipulated. Anyone who claims they can is delusional.

                                So you claim you don't know how the minds of other people work and you are absolutely certain that there is no difference between "convincing" and "manipulation". You them proceed to call anyone who is versed in psychiatry, psychology, social dynamics or a half dozen other fields "delusional".

                                Cute.

                                Those who wish to stifle the political speech of another, for whatever reasons, are tyrants.

                                I don't see where I have said that the political speech of others should be stifled. I have said that certain means and methodologies should be restricted universally. By all means, present your opinion, but in a manner that allows people the opportunity to choose to engage with you, or not, as they please. Don't overwhelm any individual communications channel with that opinion, and certainly don't overwhelm all channels.

                                Don't use dragnetted information about people's lives, combined with Big Data and algorithms to find the words/combination of words/"hot button items"/etc that will give you the highest statistical chance of manipulating someone into doing what you want.

                                Present your case, let the other side choose to engage with it - or not - and move on. If they engage, then by all means have a rigorous debate, but keep it to the clean. As close to the facts as possible (though questioning the validity of opinion based on the trustworthiness of the emitter of said opinion is generally valid) and accept the outcome - win or lose - with some form of grace.

                                Your defining me as a US Republican, while wrong, is nothing more than ad hominem.

                                I don't see how? Unless you take being called a US Republican as a really terrible insult...

                                You wish to paint anyone who dosen't agree with your nebulous definitions,

                                Uh...no. First of all, I'm not the one who comes up with the definition for terms like "manipulation". These have actual definitions in the various mind, social and political sciences. The Wikipedia article on the topic is actually a good place to start, but it's only a very brief overview. Despite that, it's quite long and the list of links to other relevant topics at the bottom is huge.

                                If anything I've discussed here seems vague it is because I am trying to distill what amounts to a Master's degree's worth of knowledge down into the character limit of these forums in a manner that can serve as a decent overview for someone who doesn't even believe in psychology. (You aren't a scientologist, are you?)

                                or your political agenda as a bogeyman and have choosen that particular stripe to paint them with.

                                You have no idea what my political agenda even is. So how can you define what it isn't? I have no need to "paint" people who disagree with me as the boogyman. There are people out there - scientologists, for example - who very much so are boogymen. Republicans aren't boogymen. Lost, confused, and tragic, perhaps, but not boogymen.

                                Also: being as how I'm not USian, what is the point of painting someone who disagrees with me as a US Republican? I might as well call them "squirrels made out of cheese". There is no benefit to me in doing that; it cannot affect my country's politics or advance anything I believe in by doing so.

                                No, I asked if you were a US Republican because a lot of what you were saying sounded very aligned with their message and I was attempting to determine if you were simply resorting to their talking points - at which point I would simply hit "ignore", because you would have proven yourself incapable of actually thinking past the propaganda handed you - or if you actually believed what you were saying.

                                It is not your place, or anyone's for that matter, to decide/define "thought manipulation."

                                You're wrong. There are entire disciplines of science where making that call is in fact part of the job, and they use empirical evidence to do so.

                                Elitists love to try, after all they know better than others and do these things for the people's own good, being superior to them and all...

                                Waitaminute, just a ways up in this conversation you accused me of trying to paint everyone who disagreed with me as a "boogyman". And here you are wielding the word "elitist" as though it were the vicious club of boogymanery. You, sir, are a hyprocrite, and I collect my $200.

                                Also: the ability to use empirical evidence to determine things (like when a human brain's cognitive centers are being bypassed during decision making in response to external stimuli) is not "elitist". It's science. Unless you are saying that science itself is elitist and that we should all collectively reject science...at least when it disagrees with the political agenda you are trying to push....

                                Your worldview leads to a totalitarian state...

                                Actually, the evidence is rather to the contrary. Nations which have placed limits on speech - especially limits on the means and methodologies allowed have been shown to be far more stable, with much less social strife and a higher standard of living than the US.

                                At least, when you use "standard of living" measurements that includes "a decreased wealth gap", "% of the population engaged in the political process" and "level of political corruption" as standards. I understand that these are standards rejected by the Republicans and thus not generally accepted in the USA as part of their standard of living calculations.

                                Anyways, have fun with all that anger against the "elites". I hope you find what you're looking for in life.

                            2. h4rm0ny

                              @Trevor Potts: So what did they say?

                              So much argument over principles and so little specifics - what exactly did this AC say / how did they say it to invite a campaign of umasking by you Trevor? I agree that there are some very underhand manipulative techniques that should not be used. But without knowing what case is actually being referred to here, we can't tell if you're right to object or if, as your opponent argues, you're simply hounding someone for having different political views. Where is this argument that you're both referring to and what is it they're saying?

                              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                                Re: @Trevor Potts: So what did they say?

                                @h4rm0ny well it's not any one argument. It's the culmination of them. In large part it's a massive campaign of disinformation regarding Microsoft versus anything that even remotely smells of a Microsoft alternative. There's nothing particularly "political" about it at all. (And I have no idea why Mr "not a Republican" assigned "political" as a relevant motivation here.)

                                Normally, I honestly wouldn't care. Hell, "which OS is better" trolling is a part of internet culture. I trolled a bunch of Apple fanboys in a thread here a few days ago and it was good clean fun. I've no problem - most of the time - with this sort of tomfoolery. Gods know you and I have had some decent arguments, h4rm0ny.

                                But this guy is different. He shows up in virtually every thread that even tangentially mentions Microsoft or one of it's competitors and he lays it on thick. Toes the Microsoft Marketing party line 150%, and blows with wind. The party line changes? So does what he says. Someone has a complaint? He'll viciously attack the individual, their preferences, their heritage, anything and everything.

                                Now, again - for the most part - that's all good. But then this AC gets into dispensing advice. A lot of the advice is wrong; sometimes dangerously wrong. And a lot of what he says is provably a lie, or - at best - a gross stretching of the truth.

                                One thread? Ten threads? One hundred threads of this, even and it might not be a problem. But every single one for years on end and it moves from "trolling" to "a systematic campaign of disinformation and conversion".

                                If you replaced "Microsoft" with "Scientology" in a significant number of his posts and then had him say those same posts out loud in a public place I could get his ass locked up in at several western nations. The dude has some cult-like "glorious leader" worship shit going on with his Microsoft fetish and it damages my calm.

                                I will put up with creationists and deniers, I'll deal with $company fanbois and even the ultra-conservative types. I'll have a good argument with someone who screams red bloody murder about "nobody has the right to tell him what to do" then demands blacks be given a curfew and that he have the right to vote on the dispensation of women's vaginas.

                                But this guy is absolutely something else. Sheer persistence and volume combined with a skillful weaving of truth, partial truth an outright lies into a web of deception I've seen too often before.

                                The details of my issue with this particular individual are wrapped up in years worth of posts. Suffice it to say that it absolutely isn't something so prosaic as "he disagrees with me". I like people who disagree with me. I married my wife because disagrees with me; loudly and at length. I'm a commenttard damn, it. I like arguing!

                                No. It's the techniques used. The callousness of how he handles interactions with others...it's a slew of things. I know that doesn't help provide you the "go do this link, declare Trevor crazy, proceed to pick apart one thread in isolated context to show how" that you want, but that's life.

                                I'm the first to admit the possibility that I could very well just be nuts, and who knows, maybe I am. As regards this specific individual, however, I'm well convinced that the AC in question is using well practiced tools and techniques of psychological manipulation. And it is just as wrong to use it to promote your favorite corporation's interests as it is your political party of choice.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              "And if the traffic I am working with is the next Snowden release? Or proof of corruption in the office of the ISP criminality investigator? What if I what I am transferring is my collection of personal sex tapes?"

              *Tee hee* Trevor spends all day uploading his sex tapes (and all night making them).

              P.S. I actually upvoted your posts!

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: BBC Worldwide

                "*Tee hee* Trevor spends all day uploading his sex tapes (and all night making them)."

                You can't unsee that.

          2. Filippo

            Re: BBC Worldwide @AC

            AC, you're missing the point. The "mechanisms to verify that the traffic is legitimate" *are themselves* a problem. Any such mechanism would involve at the very least some kind of inspection on your private tunnel. Doing that on a profile basis, i.e. on everyone who has a lot of VPN traffic, is completely unacceptable: the real world analogy would be, as Trevor describes, to stop and search every black man with baggy clothes.

            It doesn't matter that you're found innocent after the inspection; *the inspection itself* is a violation of your rights. Overruling your right to privacy can be done, but it should require a court order, not "just because".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BBC Worldwide @AC @Filippo

              I've addressed your point in my response to Trevor's second post. I did point out in my first post that any action on this was likely to be thorny, albeit using the specific case of journalists as that was the case he was talking about.

            2. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: BBC Worldwide @AC

              "..to stop and search every black man with baggy clothes."

              Or as was the case for a neighbour of mine, pull over a young black barrister 134 times in 18 months when he was driving his 7 series BMW, yet strangely, not once when he was driving his wife's 5 year old Honda Civic.

              The authorities are already happy to profile people as criminals when they want to, let's not give them another excuse.

              Oh, and the harrassment of my neighbour only stopped when he refused to speak to the officer and was hauled before the beak for 'obstructing the police in the pursuance of their duty'. It helped that, as a barrister, he had access to records of the previous tugs.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: BBC Worldwide @AC

                "pull over a young black barrister 134 times in 18 months when he was driving his 7 series BMW"

                That's entirely justifiable - government crime statistics show that young black guys are far more likely than the population as a whole to commit crimes like stealing expensive vehicles - or to finance them via drug dealing - so it makes perfect sense that the police check people like that more often than the rest of the population. I fully support such common sense targeted approaches.

          3. John Sanders
            Facepalm

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            I was thinking on something to say to you dear AC, to help you understand why that even the mere suggestion of "here should be mechanisms to verify that the traffic is legitimate" is bad.

            But I only would say to you: F**K YOU, it is because of people like you that we'll end all in trouble.

            Guilty until proven innocent: TOTALITARIANISM

          4. Kiwi Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            They are stating there should be mechanisms to verify that the traffic is legitimate

            Own a screwdriver? You must be a burglar then. Knife? Must be a murderer then.

            But don't worry. There's mechanisms to prove your innocence.

            Takes years, money, and many who are innocent wind up being convicted. But that's ok. there's these mechanisms to make sure that never happens.

            Really..

            (Got a nice bridge to sell you too if you're interested...)

        3. petur

          Re: BBC Worldwide

          Same here, day starts with setting up VPN and ends with closing it, connecting to work servers, doing RDP, file transfers,...

          Like all torrent users are pirates...

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            Organizations like the BBC already do geolocation on IP addresses to filter non-UK traffic. It surely can't be beyond the ability of their IT staff to get the ranges of IP addresses used by the major "VPN to bypass copyright" providers, and just blacklist them as well? Target the people that they know are facilitating piracy, rather than target everyone who might be doing it and require them to prove they aren't.

            This is exactly the same argument that was used, and failed, to try and ban VCRs. Just because they might be used to infringe copyright doesn't mean that they don't have other, legitimate, uses, and the US courts refused to ban them because of that. The same should be true of VPN use. It might be easier for the BBC to get the ISPs to do their work for them, but their laziness doesn't justify a "guilty until proven innocent" attitude.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              "Organizations like the BBC already do geolocation on IP addresses to filter non-UK traffic. It surely can't be beyond the ability of their IT staff to get the ranges of IP addresses used by the major "VPN to bypass copyright" providers, and just blacklist them as well?"

              As somebody who has to pay the telly tax to support the Beeb, I'd suggest that instead of canvassing overseas regulators with bad ideas to try and support a token revenue stream, the idle, useless bastards actually focus some attention on producing something worth watching for domestic audiences?

              I'm surprised anybody would want to pirate anything the BBC has produced in the past five years.

            2. Anonymous Brave Guy
              Thumb Up

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              "Organizations like the BBC already do geolocation on IP addresses to filter non-UK traffic. It surely can't be beyond the ability of their IT staff to get the ranges of IP addresses used by the major "VPN to bypass copyright" providers, and just blacklist them as well? Target the people that they know are facilitating piracy, rather than target everyone who might be doing it and require them to prove they aren't."

              This is exactly what they should be doing, they should just whitelist all residential IP address ranges and block all others as suspicious get around methods.

              Outlawing VPNs is beyond stupid and is something the RIAA would suggest. But then again the RIAA would strongly suggest the entire internet be shut down to save their dinosaur business, even though you have reverted mankind back to circa 1980s.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Dan S

          Re: BBC Worldwide

          I'm not the down-voter, because I mostly agree. But isn't this comment OTT:

          "but I should go to jail because the beeb thinks that's "suspicious"?"

          If that were what BBC America were suggesting it would be appalling - but they aren't. Maybe we can focus on the real problem rather than hyperbole.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            I'm not the down-voter, because I mostly agree. But isn't this comment OTT:

            "but I should go to jail because the beeb thinks that's "suspicious"?"

            If that were what BBC America were suggesting it would be appalling - but they aren't. Maybe we can focus on the real problem rather than hyperbole.

            No, this is the real problem. Let's say that I am suspected of copyright infringement because of "VPN + Heavy usage". I am then faced with "prove your innocence by showing the traffic that went through the VPN or {unspecificed badness}." I refuse. Now what? I lose internet access? I'm fined? They get a warrant for my computer?

            Then what? They discover the next Snowden's treasure trove on my PC and I go directly to jail? A dark little whole from which I will never emerge?

            This goes beyond just "we're looking at your traffic and demanding you prove what that traffic is for purposes of copyright enforcement". Copyright enforcement is the thin end of the wedge and this opens a door to metric fuckloads of badness.

            The Beeb's take on this is bad enough. If it were adopted, a "benign" mechanism now exists to demand a peek inside your tunnel. And then tunnels will have to go through MITM proxies...

            Once you remove the presumption of innocence for copyright purposes, where does it stop? And where do the sanctions and consequences end? Why should any of us condone opening pandora's box here?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              I usually give short shrift to slippery-slope logic but the history here is compelling. Each legislative cycle we see a over-the-top bill or three proposed and, after much gnashing of teeth and cries of woe, a law is enacted with the "lesser of numerous evils" as a "compromise." And the cycle recurs the next legislative cycle.

              I wonder why I have overwhelming sympathies for frogs?

              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: BBC Worldwide

                @Jack of Shadows

                "Slipper slope" arguments are only a logical fallacy if A) a mechanism by which the cascade can begin isn't identified and B) historicity of similar events isn't supplied. In this case, I think you are correct and there is quite a bit of history to show that scope creep is functionally inevitable, were such legislation to be enacted.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BBC Worldwide

              Someone is not 'free' to accuse anyone else of whatever they like. In general, 'defamation of character' laws are quite well defined in our part of the world.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I should go to jail because the beeb thinks that's "suspicious"?

          I move half a terabyte a month through VPN that is legitimate. It's part of being a journalist. I will sometimes get copies of VMs for analysis, or troves of e-mails...but I should go to jail because the beeb thinks that's "suspicious"?

          I am not a lawyer, however I think the onus of proof should be on the BBC to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you are pirating, not that you could be pirating.

          After all, just because I was born with two hands does not mean I'm guilty of strangling someone to death.

        6. John Sanders
          Linux

          Re: BBC Worldwide

          Trevor, I do not want even to imagine what they may think of people who uses SSH.

          1. alain williams Silver badge

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            Some machines that I ssh into I do over a VPN ... does that make me doubly suspicious ?

          2. okcomputer44

            Re: BBC Worldwide

            OMG that's a good one!

            I've got a VPS at Hetzner in Germany and I do ssh into this box very much, then therefore I could work for the SS or Stasi, if we follow their logic! :)

            You never know! ;)

        7. Potemkine Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: BBC Worldwide

          You're a journalist? That's more than enough to be considered a suspect!

        8. Oh Homer
          Childcatcher

          The BBC's proposed "mechanism"

          Surely the only possible "mechanism" to determine the "legitimacy" of an encrypted connection is to either decrypt it (by technical or subversive methods) or interrogate the user (by making some sort of threat), either one of which would be in violation of all kinds of laws and international treaties.

          I realise the BBC probably thinks it's some kind of branch of the Met Police, given the sort of gangster tactics its enforcement goons operate, but criminalising secure data connections in foreign countries is stretching things a bit far even for the BBC.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: The BBC's proposed "mechanism"

            "Surely the only possible "mechanism" to determine the "legitimacy" of an encrypted connection is to either decrypt it (by technical or subversive methods) or interrogate the user (by making some sort of threat), either one of which would be in violation of all kinds of laws and international treaties."

            Not true. There are in fact "pattern analysis" technologies that can detect (with varying degrees of accuracy) the type of traffic in the tunnel. They are already being deployed by companies around the world such as Shaw Communications here in Canada to help them detect P2P usage and target them for throttling.

            Now, as to what level of confidence in the accuracy would be required before engaging in the BBC's witch-hunt should be allowed...

      2. YARR
        Joke

        Re: BBC Worldwide the commercial arm of the BBC rather than the Beeb itself.

        So when they prosecute someone's legal fiction for file-sharing, would a valid defence be "no your honour, I am innocent of this allegation, it was my non-commercial arm that was responsible" (whilst slapping your left arm with your right hand).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC Worldwide

      "BBC Worldwide calls for Australia to block known sources of pirated material hosted offshore"

      There goes Australian access to the whole rest of the Internet then...

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    How low the BBC has sunk

    There was a time when it was a champion, now it's just a lap dog.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: How low the BBC has sunk

      There was a time when a Website would have been thrilled to have been mentioned on a BBC show.

      Nowadays we are moving into the realm of the TV shows being thrilled to having being mentioned on a Blog,VLog, Youtube channel.

      The world has moved on, Television as a medium is on the border of outplaying it usage/requirement.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: How low the BBC has sunk

        The world has moved on, Television as a medium is on the border of outplaying it usage/requirement.

        Let's hope so. But I'm afraid it's being replaced by Facebook. Still a little early to tell though.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: How low the BBC has sunk

          >Let's hope so. But I'm afraid it's being replaced by Facebook. Still a little early to tell though.

          Unfortunately yes, one evil being replaced by another.

          Both the television and the Internet have some very positive concepts, unfortunately they are quickly overburdened and outweighed by the negative ones ( marketing, publicity, politics).

    2. John Sanders
      Thumb Down

      Re: How low the BBC has sunk

      The BBC is mostly a cathedral to the Politically Correct & progressives these days.

  3. Tom7

    The BBC is really starting to piss me off. I'm here spending a year in Australia. I'm a license fee payer back home, but the ONLY (well, only legal...) way I can get BBC content is through the four BBC Worldwide channels that are available in Australia, and the only way they're available in Australia is through a Foxtel subscription at $75 per month, more than three times the license fee.

    I figure I'm a license fee payer, I should be able to access iPlayer content anywhere. But heck, I'd happily bung 'em another tenner a month for iPlayer access from overseas. $75/month, though? Forget it.

    1. M.Zaccone
      Pirate

      Nail on head.

      The BBC is missing a trick as always. I have plenty of relatives in Oz, Europe and the U.S.A who would be delighted to pay the license fee if it got them access to the content. Currently they pay for UK VPNs to give them access to the iPlayer. The BBC Worldwide channels are regarded with contempt as they show even more repeats of Cash In the Attic than standard BBC. Have media organisations learnt nothing? If you want to prevent piracy then make the full content available promptly and at a reasonable price.

      1. hitmouse

        Re: Nail on head.

        +1

        I'd pay the license fee just to get access to BBC radio content that I used to be able to download as podcasts - the BBC closed down that avenue in 2012 with the promise that a paid option was about to become available. ... and nothing.

        So now I record off air. BBC makes nothing from that.

        1. M.Zaccone

          Re: Nail on head.

          Ah yes, good old "Radio Downloader". I have been waiting with bated breath for the paid option. Well, you could try "get_iplayer" instead. Works a treat on debian.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Nail on head.

        Except they signed such piss poor deals with the production companies that they can't offer the shows to foreigners

        - Obviously the BBC had no real negotiating power, merely controlling access to the airwaves, to be able to negotiate with such hard nosed titans of industry as the makers of "cash in the attic"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...and what if you used a VPN to access your PVR back in the UK to stream the content you recorded? I can't see why that should be blocked. Even if your parents recorded it for you and you streamed it from them it seems to me that this should be legitimate.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

      Feel your pain. Parts of Europe from Dubln to Lisbon set-up FTA Free-To-Air Sat Dishes and get all the UK channels for absolutely nothing... Is that fair?

      Who is the BBC kidding here anyway.... If they were smart they would sell their service like Netflix and charge something reasonable and get huge interest....

      Anyway, when I'm travelling I use this, maybe it'll do the trick for you....

      http://www.filmon.com/channel/bbc-one

      1. David Haworth 1

        Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

        They changed to a new satellite recently, and guess what? I can't get BBC any more here in Bavaria. Nor ITV, Channel 4 and a whole collection of other channels.

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

          You're going to need a bigger dish (maybe 1.5m) if you're allowed to install one.You may find this site useful for assessing potential reception quality in your area:

          http://robssatellitetv.com/astra2ereceptionmaps.htm

          Otherwise Filmon (as recommended elsewhere) or a Raspberry Pi with RaspBMC and the F.T.V. addon work quite well if you have fast enough broadband.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

        Feel your pain. Parts of Europe from Dubln to Lisbon set-up FTA Free-To-Air Sat Dishes and get all the UK channels for absolutely nothing... Is that fair?

        Of course it's fair, people in the UK can get TV from lots of other European countries without paying them anything. Spaniards can watch German TV, the French can watch Dutch TV, and we all only have to pay our own home TV license fee. How terrible. You don't even need a satellite dish if you're close enough, it's always been like that.

        It may not be convenient, but it's certainly fair, so much so that it's now enshrined in EU law, if you can receive it, you can watch it, legally.

      3. bill 36

        Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

        Thats not the only way.

        This works well outside of the UK https://adtelly.tv/chrome-extension/ and gives you access to BBC & ITV as well as iplayer.

        F.T.V is available as an android app and is available in XBMC which gives you access to more content that you can shake a stick at. Much of it in high quality.

        But this is not the real problem. The BBC and others ( in Europe) are actively trying to restrict their content, claiming copyright issues and this flies in the face of EU broadcasting directives.

        You can read about it here and i direct you to the paragraph headed General Principle.

        http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/audiovisual_and_media/l24101_en.htm

        As for being able to watch UK FTA channels in Europe, Astra2 cut off most of Europe in January when they fired up the new Astra 2E sat and thereby cut off Freesat to most of mainland Europe.

        In my opinion, totally disregarding the EU directives.

        Sky, BT, BBC are in my opinion, illegally trying to block IPTV, much of which is accessed across a VPN and they are getting away with it.

        If they made it available at reasonable cost across Europe at least, then the problem would go away overnight.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

          The BBC and others ( in Europe) are actively trying to restrict their content, claiming copyright issues and this flies in the face of EU broadcasting directives.

          You can read about it here and i direct you to the paragraph headed General Principle.

          http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/audiovisual_and_media/l24101_en.htm

          That's a common misunderstanding. There's nothing in the TV Without Frontiers directive which requires any broadcaster to make their programmes available EU-wide. It simply says that they cannot take action to restrict the availability of programmes from other member states. That is, it would be illegal of the UK to intentionally jam French TV to stop people in the UK watching it. There's no requirememt on the French to make their broadcasts available to the UK, and vice-versa.

          The only legal document which carries such a requirement is the UK/Ireland "Good Friday" agreement where the two countries agreed to make certain broadcasts widely available. RTE now operates a transmitter in Belfast to carry some of the RTE channels.

          1. bill 36

            Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

            Yes indeed but what am i misunderstanding?

            Prior to January 2014, Astra 2D was available across Europe with a big enough dish. ( up to 1.5M) This carried not only Freesat but the Sky channels as well.

            Come January 2014, actually the opening day of the winter olympics in Sochi. Astra 2E was brought into operation and instantly and deliberately restricted reception across most of mainland Europe. Under the guise of "it will aid reception in the far north"

            Are you telling me that this is not "taking action to restrict the availability of programmes from other member states" ?

            Bullshit!

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

              Are you telling me that this is not "taking action to restrict the availability of programmes from other member states" ?

              Yes. Note the part I highlighted. This was action taken by the BBC to restrict availability of BBC programmes to other states, which the TVWF directive says nothing about.

              If France had banned the sale of larger "BBC dishes", or if Germany had intentionally nuked the old satellite, that would have contravened the TVSW directive.Nothing in that directive requires the BBC (or any other broadcaster) to take any steps to make their programmes available outside their national territory. It simply stops broadcasters and governments from taking steps to block reception in their national territory of broadcasts from outside it (i.e. it bans Soviet/Chinese-style censorship)

              That's what I mean about the directive being misunderstood,. People assume that it's an instruction to make TV available in other countries. Very nice though I agree that would be, it isn't what the TVSW directive does.

              1. bill 36

                Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

                so we'll have to agree to disagree.

                The very name "Television without Frontiers" implies that broadcasts are freely available across member states. But then it depends from which angle you read this. Yes it's to prevent member states blocking transmissions, but unfortunately, the BBC has chosen to restrict the satellite pattern making it nigh on impossible in most of europe to receive these broadcasts and i'm quite sure thats not what was intended by the directive.

                But lets look at it another way. The BBC's commercial arm flogs BBC entertainment channels to most of the european cable companies. Allowing FTA channels on Astra in Europe would and did severely undermine that business. The BBC justifies that move by citing copyright and contract infringement. Crap! BBC news on the other hand is freely available everywhere. What a surprise.

                I don't see any FTA restriction over satellite from any other EU countries.

                1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                  Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off. @bill 36

                  I think you need to understand how satellite transmission footprints work.

                  In order to be able to cover the whole of Europe, it would be necessary to transmit from several Astra satellites.

                  The move from Astra 2D to Astra 2E could have been for many reasons. Astra 2D may have been being retired (I know that it wasn't, but it could have been). The BBC's lease of the service on 2D may have expired and they were forced to move to a different satellite. Or maybe, UK license payers in the extreme north may not have been able to get a signal from 2D, but 2E coveres them better.

                  Hmmm. As the BBCs mandate is primarily to provide broadcast media to the UK, the last appears to be a pretty convincing reason. It's enabled them to provide a service to parts of their core area that were previously not serviced.

                  To me, this seems entirely reasonable. What would you have wanted. That they increase the cost of providing the service by hogging satellite bandwidth by using channels on two satellites?

                  It strikes me that what expat's are suffering from is collateral damage from an entirely justifiable action. Only if you can prove that the BBC did it solely to cut off people from outside of their core audience could you really claim that it was a deliberate TVWF infringement.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: The BBC is really starting to piss me off.

                  > I don't see any FTA restriction over satellite from any other EU countries.

                  France doesn't have FTA satellite, you have to get a dedicated receiver which is officially only available to French addresses. Italy is going the same way. Spanish FTA TV has largely gone in recent years, as has Dutch.

                  Germany is perhaps the biggest exception, but given its central position it would be pretty hard to get a satellite footprint that would cover only Germany, and would exclude the major other German-speaking areas like Austria and Switzerland.

                  It's widely recognized that "overspill" into neigbouring countries is expected, and the programme suppliers only require that broadcasters make reasonable efforts to minimize it. That's what the BBC have always done, and with the launch of the new Astra satellite with its narower footprint they have no choice but to move to it to maintain that expectation of "reasonable effort", inconvenient though it is for folks in Spain, S. France and eastern Germany.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      If BBC Worldwide were to offer overseas access for a subscription, not only would there be a queue of expats with credit card in hand, but I suspect a great deal of locals too.

      Even if they restricted content to stuff they never sell abroad and stuff that hasn't been sold abroad yet (they've got to keep the local table and telly companies sweet), it'd still be licence to print money. They're sitting on a goldmine and either they don't know it or they don't know who Akamai are.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        I'd pay an annual £145.50 to watch/listen to the BBC worldwide.

        It costs almost that for a good VPN subscription set-up anyway.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry Tom

      Part of the BBC license agreement includes an unwritten clause that says if you're not directly contributing to the UK economy in the UK or you're on holiday outside of the UK then you're not eligible to watch the BBC over the Internet on your domestic license.

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: Sorry Tom

        "Part of the BBC license agreement includes an unwritten clause that says if you're not directly contributing to the UK economy in the UK or you're on holiday outside of the UK then you're not eligible to watch the BBC over the Internet on your domestic license."

        Unwritten clauses aren't worth the paper they're not written on.

      2. BoldMan

        Re: Sorry Tom

        if its unwritten how can that be enforceable?

        1. James O'Shea Silver badge

          Re: Sorry Tom

          "if its unwritten how can that be enforceable?"

          I'm pretty sure that he was being sarcastic. I know that I was.

          Some of the commentards need to lighten up a little.

      3. rh587 Bronze badge
        FAIL

        Re: Sorry Tom

        "Part of the BBC license agreement includes an unwritten clause that says if you're not directly contributing to the UK economy in the UK or you're on holiday outside of the UK then you're not eligible to watch the BBC over the Internet on your domestic license."

        Whut?

        If it's unwritten then by definition it's not part of the license agreement.

      4. jabuzz

        Re: Sorry Tom

        Just exactly how does that work with the download feature of iPlayer then? They actually advertise it as being suitable for taking stuff on holiday, and in my experience it worked in the France on my Kindle Fire HD earlier this year.

    6. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Down

      iPlayer overseas

      I imagine iPlayer access abroad is something the Beeb has considered, but probably the licensing nightmare means it's not feasible: independent productions would want to handle their own overseas sales, not to mention potentially treading on the toes of their own BBC Worldwide...

      But you know what? I maintain that just because you can't get hold of something you'd like to at the price you agree with that is not a justification to resort to illegal means to get it.

      1. hitmouse

        Re: iPlayer overseas

        So all those production companies end up getting nothing, because baby only a tiny percentage goes overseas as sales.

      2. rh587 Bronze badge

        Re: iPlayer overseas

        "But you know what? I maintain that just because you can't get hold of something you'd like to at the price you agree with that is not a justification to resort to illegal means to get it."

        I would agree that if you are for instance, an Australian who wants to access the BBC simulcasts, that using a UK proxy or VPN would be morally and legally out.

        However, for someone who has paid their licence fee, I'm not sure why there should be any legal or moral impediment to them accessing that service overseas, even if they do have do employ a VPN to get to their home's IP address, or a commercial proxy service because it's too difficult for the BBC to manage worldwide licensing on an individual scale.

        It's no different to someone recording something off the TV at home and taking it on a USB stick to watch on the plane or in their hotel. If they've paid for it, does it matter where they watch it?

        That surely, is far less of an issue than Europeans buying FreeSat dishes and tuning into free TV outside the UK because we can't narrow the transmission footprint adequately.

      3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: iPlayer overseas

        I imagine iPlayer access abroad is something the Beeb has considered

        You don't need to imagine it, you can read about it on the iPlayer pages. The BBC is considering expanding iPlayer services abroad where possible, they've already done it for radio.

        The problem, as you rightly note, is that it isn't always their choice to make. They can only take that decision for programmes where they own the rights, and where the agreements with the cast etc. allow it at a reasonable cost.They also have to consider that BBC Worldwide has the job of raising money for the BBC by selling BBC programmes abroad, so to permit free distribution of those programmes internationally would be shooting themselves in the foot, financially speaking.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So use a VPN? Get a UK IP address and you're laughing.

      That's what my parents do - who are living in India for Dad's work purposes at the moment.

      As they have paid their license fee for their house in the UK they feel no moral qualms about directing their traffic to a small VPN box to access both the catchup iPlayer and simulcasts they have paid for with their licence fee.

    8. Mayhem

      Or you use a UK located server to restream to yourself

      I have a Plex server in London.

      That has a iplayer channel that I can access from any of my registered devices wherever I am while travelling in Europe, and since iplayer is streaming to London and the Plex server is streaming to me, I can happily watch anything. Should work equally well in Australia, although I haven't tested that yet to determine performance.

  4. Da Weezil

    The BBC is an arrogant white elephant that has become overblown with its own importance. How dare they presume to set themselves up as an authority on what people might be using a service for? The more pressing matter is the need to look at why they blew a shedload of money on an illogical move north and selling buildings that they then have to rent back.

    I am forced to pay a fee to watch tv despite the fact that it produces NOTHING that I want to watch.

    It is time it was subjected to the harsh realities of the commercial world and made to fend for itself rather than being able to leech off of many for whom it offers nothing.

    (And I say this as a person who once believed it was a cornerstone of UK Broadcasting and quality production)

    The output of TV in the UK is abysmal.

    1. CliveM

      So you don't like the BBC. I don't like trolls who start long soapboxing rants about pet peeves that do not address the matter in hand. Your entire post has a hell of a lot of vitriol and very little substantive comment about the BBC's submission. That comment is worth as little as the BBC's was.

      1. TheTick

        "So you don't like the BBC".

        I suspect the problem is not that he doesn't like the BBC, but that he is forced on pain of fines/prison to pay for it if he likes OTHER channels and watches them.

        Also, people are free to make comments on related matters even if it doesn't "address the matter at hand" as you put it. Or would you like to ban that?

    2. tony2heads
      Unhappy

      @Da Weezil

      Having sampled TV in several countries I can conclude that most TV is abysmal.

      Even so there are a few BBC programs that I would pay to watch when abroad, but simply don't get the chance.

    3. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Public TV

      There is no reason nowadays to have any state-sponsored TV other than for the politicians to be able to brainwash people.

      A state sponsored-tv can not offer anything private companies can not.

      There is the argument of "quality tv" that comes every now and then, if people cared about it, someone would sell that product in the market, and it will be of better quality and much cheaper.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Public TV

        "There is no reason nowadays to have any state-sponsored TV"

        Not sure what that's got to do with the BBC - which is publically funded via a licensee fee and not state funded.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The output of TV in the UK is abysmal."

      Not sure what you are relating it to, but UK TV is still way better than the advert filled trash that makes up non pay TV in most other countries - particularly the USA - now that really is abysmal.

  5. Joe 48

    What a load of boll....

    I'm guessing Stephen Fry is doing more IT based consultancy work for the BBC....

    I'll continue to run a VPN not because I'm up to no good, but because its good security practice!

    Oh and iPlayers been so unreliable lately I'm surprised anyone even bothers trying to stream from it!

  6. heyrick Silver badge

    It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify user behaviour that is ‘suspicious’" - the same ISPs that are required to be gagged when officials engage in behaviour that is even more suspicious?

    "The determination of what an ‘illegitimate’ use of such tools is, and the threshold of what would be considered a ‘high’ download volume over a period of time, would need to take into account legitimate explanations in order to avoid false positives and to safeguard the fundamental rights of consumers — such matters would be open to further industry discussion and agreement." - the problem here is that this is a can of worms you don't really want to touch. If you start searching for "suspected" pirated content using VPN channels (and how, if the link is encrypted, do you PROVE this? or is pointing an accusing finger evidence enough these days?), various pressure groups will soon get the idea that an ISP can equally determine other sorts of unlawful content, which will obviously require an examination of data passing through the system, and from there, a smart user will begin to look to systems such as VPN and Tor to safeguard what is left of basic privacy.

    It is important that consumers have a right of review or appeal in the event their rights are affected under any new scheme." - like we have rights regarding rampant snooping and overseas data mining? Don't make me laugh...

    "Consumers should have an available mechanism to challenge what are perceived to be unfair, or incorrect, ‘warnings’ issued by an ISP if a consumer is identified as having infringed copyright." - back to an earlier point - if VPN data is encrypted, then the only thing that can be proven is "this user has transferred a lot of data using VPN". Is this to become sufficient grounds for accusing somebody of copyright infringement, issuing "warnings", and perhaps (via feature creep) other sanctions?

    Let's begin with something obvious that is, sadly, missing from a fair few implementations: a warning notice shall be deemed to be invalid and itself unlawful if it does not clearly state the IP address, the time and date, exactly what was transferred unlawfully (item by item, if more than one) who owns the rights to it, and the full contact details of the organisation that is acting as an agent on behalf of the copyright holder.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... a warning notice shall be deemed to be invalid...

      Any notice should be considered invalid if it does not contain ALL of the following:

      Source IP address and port number

      Destination IP address and port number

      Date and time in a standardised notation including time zone (preferably UTC).

      Without these details (as well as specifics of the alleged infringing activity described in the parent comment) it is impossible to reliably identify users, especially now that a number of major ISPs are using Carrier Grade NAT to support their customers.

  7. AndrueC Silver badge
    Stop

    I think that 'are probably pirates' is a bit strong but I would agree that it should be unusual for a residential user to have large amounts of traffic travelling over a VPN. Home workers don't normally send a lot of data back and forth. Controlling a remote computer using RDP for instance is unlikely to amount to more than 1GB of data a day. Even VNC wont't be that much worse. Someone downloading/uploading documents is unlikely to be using much bandwidth either.

    But that's not really the point. I object to the presumption of guilt and I don't think people should be hounded just because they use their network connection in a slightly unusual way. It's the same principal that says people shouldn't be persecuted just because they don't conform to society's standards. Being unusual should never be an excuse for accusations.

    If someone has committed a crime then prove it. And 'because he uses a VPN a lot' is no more valid proof than 'because he smells' or 'because he lives alone'.

    1. Anne-Lise Pasch

      I'm a home user. In the last few weeks I downloaded Diablo and Destiny to my Xbox One (along with some free Xbox Gold games), watched innumerable stuff on Youtube, Netflix, etc. (In 720p/HD) And I did it over a VPN to bypass Virgin's traffic management. I'm not a pirate, but my usage for the last month is over 200GB. And I'm not even in a shared household. I refuse to believe I'm that unusual.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        >>my usage for the last month is over 200GB

        My sons have Steam; and bought a copy of Wolfenstein each --- 88GB in a couple of days. I watch a lot of SKY on-demand - that is 1-2GB per hour of TV. I work from home and that's probably another 1-2GB per day. Our monthly usage is therefore the thick end of a TB and (for all their peak time congestion) SKY have honoured their promise of 'unlimited'.

        So, if I VPN all that, I'm a pirate unless I can prove I'm not? How, by accounting for every GB of data I have downloaded? The idea is simply ridiculous.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        I refuse to believe I'm that unusual.

        I don't think that many people know how to set up a VPN for that kind of activity even if that particular use case is common. If it was common VM wouldn't be bothering with traffic management. I suspect the truth is that most people don't even know what a VPN is. Most teleworkers don't really - they probably just think they are logging onto their employer's network. Also VM is unusual in having traffic management - most UK ISPs don't need it and either have enough capacity in place or else let the network slow down a bit when things get busy.

        I also assume that some of the downvotes are from people who ignored my second paragraph:

        But that's not really the point. I object to the presumption of guilt and I don't think people should be hounded just because they use their network connection in a slightly unusual way.

        By downvoting me you therefore seem to be agreeing with the BBC's stance.

        1. ShadowedOne

          No..

          "By downvoting me you therefore seem to be agreeing with the BBC's stance."

          No, by downvoting you we are indicating that you haven't a bleeding clue.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Anne-Lise

        If you did use VPN to do all those like you said, you've violated most of those services' T&Cs and could in theory, get yourself banned.

        It's a sad state of affair, but most of us who're privacy minded and or increasingly simply being technically minded will get us into trouble.

        All of which the results of the old commerce and zealots lobbying clueless politicians to legislate on something they don't understand.

        1. BleedinObvious

          Re: re: Anne-Lise

          "If you did use VPN to do all those like you said, you've violated most of those services' T&Cs and could in theory, get yourself banned."

          Nothing in the Virgin T&Cs or Acceptable Use and traffic management policies -that I can see- forbidding VPN. You agree that they may shape/throttle traffic, but nothing states you can't use VPN for all your traffic.

          Especially good idea to use VPNs the entire time when Virgin openly state in their T&Cs that they read your emails and internet comms:

          " h. With your permission, we may monitor email and internet communications, including without limitation, any content or material transmitted over the services.

          i. We also reserve the right to monitor and control data volume and/or types of traffic transmitted via the services."

    2. janimal
      Mushroom

      Bollocks

      I think that 'are probably pirates' is a bit strong but I would agree that it should be unusual for a residential user to have large amounts of traffic travelling over a VPN. Home workers don't normally send a lot of data back and forth. Controlling a remote computer using RDP for instance is unlikely to amount to more than 1GB of data a day. Even VNC wont't be that much worse. Someone downloading/uploading documents is unlikely to be using much bandwidth either.

      I frequently home-worked as a software developer. On some projects I have had to download a 16gb build every night (over VPN) so that I am coding to the latest build. Even on smaller projects 1.5gb is not unusual.

      Just because you can't imagine a legal high bandwidth VPN scenario doesn't mean they don't exist.

  8. DropBear Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Consumers should have an available mechanism to challenge...

    Oh, so it's "guilty unless proven innocent" now?!? How cute...

  9. s. pam
    FAIL

    Time to put a bullet to Auntie's head

    I use a VPN all bloody day - my company requires it so we can get into our corporate network.

    By Auntie's definition I must be a Pirate.

    Argh me Bucko's, I'm taking what I'm given because I'm working for a living!

    Sod off Auntie Storm Troopers!

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Time to put a bullet to Auntie's head

      I use a VPN all bloody day - my company requires it so we can get into our corporate network.

      By Auntie's definition I must be a Pirate.

      No, because 'Auntie' is talking about people transferring a lot of data over a VPN link. It's unlikely that you do as I pointed out in my first message.

      1. s. pam

        Re: Time to put a bullet to Auntie's head

        In the last month I've moved something like 140GB UP from my home network -> VPN over Virgin to my US employers' VPN gateway. In the same time I've downloaded something like 220GB DOWN to my home network in a similar style.

        I'm sharing VMDK's with co-workers whilst we work on a project so all transmissions and data transferred are fully encrypted.

        The time is coming that the only difference of 1940's German government and the BBC is that it is 2014.

  10. Rabbit80

    I guess I would be labelled as a pirate then..

    My usage is around 1TiB/month at the moment virtually all of it over VPN and all legal. For starters I host an offsite backup for work which sends approx 15-20GiB each night over a VPN. I also push all my traffic over a VPN which includes Netflix, browsing, Youtube - as well as Steam downloads which can soon add up!

    Why do I use a VPN? Privacy - these days it is just as easy to configure it in my router so it is permanent and works across all my devices automagically.

    1. dan1980

      @Rabbit80

      Would they label you a pirate? No.

      What they are saying, however, is that if you are using a VPN so much and with high dl/ul then you should be flagged for further scrutiny, so the precise use of your VPN(s) can be ascertained.

      Until such time as the usage can be shown to be legitimate, it will be considered suspicious.

      That's not the same thing as branding you a pirate but it is 99% as objectionable.

      That line of thinking leads to ideas to force people to register for the right to use a VPN, requiring them to show valid reasons why they need the VPN, what the endpoints are, when it will be in use and what traffic types and volume will be flowing through it. After all, nothing to hide, etc . . .

      Anyone scoffing at this notion (hopefully no one by this stage) should look to China and Russia (I almost said The USSR . . .) and their insistence on identifying people online - to ensure responsible behaviour.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        what's the difference?

        <beginquote> Would they label you a pirate? No.

        What they are saying, however, is that if you are using a VPN so much and with high dl/ul then you should be flagged for further scrutiny, so the precise use of your VPN(s) can be ascertained.

        Until such time as the usage can be shown to be legitimate, it will be considered suspicious. <endquote>

        What's the difference between being 'labeled a pirate' and being 'considered suspicious'?

        1. dan1980

          Re: what's the difference?

          @theodore

          "What's the difference between being 'labeled a pirate' and being 'considered suspicious'?"

          That's the question, and the very thing you are implying is exactly why I said that the latter was 99% as objectionable as the former. To be clearer, I was saying that being flagged as suspicious is in most ways the same thing as being labelled a pirate, which is to say that you are being pre-judged without any real evidence.

          I appreciate that the semi-ironic intention of my post was perhaps beyond my ability to accurately convey! (Imagination bigger than my vocabulary or something like that, I suppose.)

        2. Mayhem

          Re: what's the difference?

          What's the difference between being 'labeled a pirate' and being 'considered suspicious'?

          Oh there are a whole bunch of use cases for the idea of Suspicious for a overarching monitoring service which wants to quietly expand its remit to grow the business.

          For example, if you don't fall under the simple idea of Pirate then they can bump you up to the wonderfully evocative potential child porn trader or all the way to resembles known host of criminal sites.

          That's what all the comment about burden of proof are about, and why under rule of law it should be the accuser's job. It is much harder to prove a negative, so making you prove that you aren't using the VPN for piracy merely removes you from the list of potential pirates. It says nothing about the other lists of potential criminals ... unless of course, you have nothing to hide ... at which point they get to ask "Why do you need a VPN" ... both exposing their lack of understanding of basic security protocols, and inviting you to bend over to all and sundry ...

        3. DPWDC

          Re: what's the difference?

          "What they are saying, however, is that if you are using a VPN so much and with high dl/ul then you should be flagged for further scrutiny"

          Virtual PRIVATE Network. Further scrutiny just for using a VPN? That's comparable to the police doing a drugs raid because you keep the curtains shut in your spare bedroom.

          1. dan1980

            Re: what's the difference?

            @DPWDC

            "Virtual PRIVATE Network. Further scrutiny just for using a VPN? That's comparable to the police doing a drugs raid because you keep the curtains shut in your spare bedroom."

            Ahhh, yeah - exactly.

            Was my original post so difficult to understand that only 3 people realised I was simply explaining what the BBC were saying and not endorsing it?

  11. Forget It

    iPlayer from overseas - harder

    Since Jan/Feb BBC iPlayer has black listed known TOR exit nodes in the UK - so you can't watch Dr Who from overseas using TOR (not TOR friendly anyways).

    But it shows how they've smartened/tighten up.

    Some paid Proxy service/VPNs are blocked too - I've heard.

    Bear Tunnel worked for me though last week.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: iPlayer from overseas - harder

      If they are blocking IP's that are UK assigned, surely they are blocking the service for legitimate users in the UK who just might be protecting their privacy?

      Very bad BBC.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "decentralised peer-to-peer technologies"

    ... host-to host, net-to-net, sounds a bit like a description of the Internet to me. Is the BBC proposing that we only access its services via a direct to BBC dial-up? Are they going to abandon SW and LW broadcasting?

    If we are to be held to some "moral" standard are they going to stop their incessant attempts to persuade us to donate our personal data to their "friends" at Facebook, Twitter et al?

    (Sorry I'm just in a bad mood this morning.)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other curve

    <smug>

    With increasing TV consumption is there not a decrease in critical faculty? Those considered most attracted to the VPN use are also least able to facilitate it.

    </smug>

  14. Crisp Silver badge

    Since when was privacy suspicious?

    Answers on a postcard please.

  15. Jason Hindle

    In other words, Auntie doesn't like Aussies

    Using VPN to access iPlayer. It's not about piracy per se, since iPlayer downloads can only be played in the place they were downloaded to, and are time limited.

    1. El Presidente

      Re: In other words, Auntie doesn't like Aussies

      "iPlayer downloads can only be played in the place they were downloaded to, and are time limited."

      LOL.

    2. Allan 1

      Re: In other words, Auntie doesn't like Aussies

      " iPlayer downloads can only be played in the place they were downloaded to, and are time limited."

      LOL

      get_iplayer FTW

  16. dan1980

    Ahh . . . no.

    "It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify user behaviour that is ‘suspicious’ and indicative of a user engaging in conduct that infringes copyright."

    Ahhh . . . no. No, it is not 'reasonable'. Once you have ISPs identifying 'suspicious' traffic they have far less protection. iiNet tested this recently, much to the dismay of the MPAA (through their Australian lackeys, AFACT) and the main issue was when an ISP could be said to be 'authorising' copyright infringement. Central to this is the ISP knowing that infringing behaviour is taking place. Asking ISPs to actively work to identify such behaviour is akin to asking them to actively increase their liability. No thanks mates.

    "Such behaviour may include the illegitimate use by internet users of IP obfuscation tools in combination with high download volumes."

    Pardon? This smacks of guilty until proven innocent.

    No, the way it works - should work - is that the copyright holders must prove that a VPN is being used for infringement of copyright. You can't just point to a user on a VPN and assume they're up to no good unless it can be shown that they aren't.

    That's no better than seeing someone in a fast car and 'tailing' them because you think the car might be stolen, or seeing a single, 40yo man at a swimming pool and following him around because you think he might whip his todger out in front of the kids.

    It's profiling.

    While that might be, maybe, barely justifiable where there is a serious threat, let's never forget that we are talking about copyright infringement, wherein no violence has been committed or threatened, no goods stolen and no financial loss can be proven. Any exigent circumstances that might otherwise justify profiling are absent in this case.

    ". . . would need to take into account legitimate explanations in order to avoid false positives and to safeguard the fundamental rights of consumers . . ."

    Well, here's the thing - given that we now know that we are being spied on relentlessly and without any probably cause or semblance of due process, using a VPN for everything you do on line has instantly become legitimate.

    ". . . such matters would be open to further industry discussion and agreement."

    Right, so this should be an 'industry' thing then, should it? Any plan to ask the public - you know, the customers?

    So, while this submission is far more reasonable that other 'industry' submissions, it is still, at heart, a request to have ISPs not only police but investigate their customers on behalf of a totally unrelated third-party representing their own commercial interests.

    No thanks chaps.

    If you want something addressed, you provide ". . . unequivocal and cogent evidence of the alleged primary acts of infringement by use of the . . . service in question." (Emmett, J.)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Licence fee payer travelling overseas

    I'm a UK resident that works overseas a lot and don't see why I can't watch the BBC shows I'm legally forced to pay for via the BBC Tax (aka Licence Fee). As it is, I have no option but to break the rules, Hola being the current weapon of choice.

    While Dr. Who is simulcast on the ABC, there's a lot more besides that isn't. And Aussie TV is shit, so it's not like watching that is an option either.

    (Anon for obvs)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Licence fee payer travelling overseas

      I'm a UK resident that works overseas a lot and don't see why I can't watch the BBC shows I'm legally forced to pay for via the BBC Tax (aka Licence Fee). As it is, I have no option but to break the rules

      Well you're 'forced' to pay rent and services on the home you have in the UK too aren't you? You should demand the right to not pay for any local rent or water and demand a free hire car whilst you're away too.

      You in fact have the perfectly valid option <u>not</u> to break the rules by either downloading programmes to a device and take that with you, or just miss them and maybe watch then on catchup when you get back.

      No-one's forcing you to watch broadcast TV. It's just one of many pastimes, not a divine right.

      1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

        Re: Licence fee payer travelling overseas

        "Well you're 'forced' to pay rent and services on the home you have in the UK too aren't you? You should demand the right to not pay for any local rent or water and demand a free hire car whilst you're away too."

        Nope, he could go ahead and have services shut off. He also has the right to sublet his home, or store his stuff there, or whatever; you know, make use of it. Unlike the license fee where he's apparently being forced to pay it but expected to get nothing out of it. Good on him for getting his money's worth!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh hamburgers...

    When will we see reasonably priced streaming AND decent software to stream with?

    It occurs to me that quite a lot of torrent clients are better quality than say Netflix.

    I have a Netflix account and it's ok, but the quality is so damn low compared to a good ol' 1080p torrent. Same goes for sky TV, broadcast in 1080 you pinkies, you have the resources! Get rid of some channels if you don't have the bandwidth.

    The sad fact is it's not just price it's quality. The pirates provide higher quality content than the legit services do, and usually before the legit services.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh hamburgers...

      "When will we see reasonably priced streaming AND decent software to stream with?"

      You must have missed 'Popcorn Time' ?

  19. TitterYeNot

    Dingo's kidneys

    What worries me, looking at recent Australian politicians' decisions on net censorship, is that there's a possibility that they might actually listen to this utter guff that BBC Worldwide management are coming out with.

    The thought that worries me even more is that the locals could eventually decide that enough is enough, and deport said clueless politicos back to dear old Blighty in revenge for for certain - ahem - 'export policies' we had with regards to Australia in the past, and I can't say I'd blame them...

    1. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: Dingo's kidneys

      "deport said clueless politicos back to dear old Blighty in revenge for for certain - ahem - 'export policies' we had with regards to Australia in the past, and I can't say I'd blame them..."

      Just deport 'em to Scotland when they arrive.

      And spend some money rebuilding that wall thingie to ensure that they can't be sent back postage due.

      <exit, stage left, to the sound of 'Cock o' the North'>

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    13,000 !!!!

    Wow!!!!

    Let's count them, there's Bob from Yass, Mike from Wagga Wagga, Cheryl from Kempsey....

    It's my VPN and I'll do what I like with it

  21. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    A pattern emerges

    At one end of the pipe we have the BEEB trying to cut us foreigners off, and at the other end we have Rupert doing his level best to throttle (if not kill) the NBN.

    Don't worry BBC, old walnut-face will have us on degrading copper lines for years to come.

  22. Truth4u

    Why are the BBC lobbying a foreign government?

    What the hell?

  23. Greg D

    I don't get it...

    Let me get this straight.

    The content is free to watch in both countries.

    The content is already paid for by the UK license fee payer.

    Where then is there a problem with punters obtaining the content from other source? Surely, if anything, they are doing the BBC a favour by lightening the load on their content network, right?

    Some of what makes great programming great is in the fact that it is freely obtainable by anyone from anywhere. Product/content will only gain popularity if this happens. All I can see the BBC losing from this act of "piracy" is some metric data as to who is watching it and where.

    Its all a load of cobblers if you ask me. BBC Worldwide trying to justify their shitty existence.

    The term "piracy" on free content is laughable.

  24. Mage Silver badge

    The Solution

    The solution the TV content providers appear to have currently is to make the content so rubbish no-one would want to pirate it.

    Personally they'd have to pay me to watch some of the Garbage.

    1) Invest in better content

    2) More Local TV companies will buy it (more profit)

    3) Have a sensibly priced Netflix style service. (more profit)

    4) Offer it at sensible prices on DVD & BD. BBC sets are mostly overpriced. (More Profit). Less than 1/2 people have suitable broadband for (3).

    Then piracy will not matter.

  25. MrXavia
    Facepalm

    WTF????

    VPN users pirates? I use VPN all the time, for work, for security, meaning I am attached to one or more VPN pretty much ALL the time, and most of my traffic goes over a VPN...

    So I can with just as much confidence say VPN users are likely people who work!

    Stupid BBC worldwide...

  26. janimal

    My very well off Brother has his router configured to connect to a commercial VPN service permanently so all traffic from his house & devices goes through it.

    Nothing to do with piracy, just simply enhancing his anonymity.

    If I want to look up a bit of perfectly legal fruity stuff on the web, I often use a VPN, once again just to enhance my anonymity.

    The reality is that the internet these days is more of a profiling & tracking tool for government & corporations.

    The use of a VPN makes you harder to profile & helps protect you from random trawling (of course cookie control, browser cleaning, no-script & ad-block are required too). Of course it won't help if you are explicitly targeted by some entity though.

    I also dedicate 5mbps of my connection to a TOR relay, does that make me a criminal too?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm

    So you want to get paid for your content. That's fair. I don't mind that. However I still am unable to get the content in any way shape or form that I can use(I'm in the EU).

    Netflix - your country is not supported at this time

    iPlayer - oops wrong country

    everything else - wrong country

    I wouldn't mind paying for something... but you need to offer it in a way I can actually use. I don't want to own the dvd/blu ray set for a tv show which I'll watch once for the little entertainment it does. So until I can actually go and do I'll pay this for a subscription or this for an episode and be able to watch it in my own time on a device of my choosing I guess torrents and other methods will still be the best option for me. But don't worry I'm sure the cable company to which I'm paying both internet and TV(which I hardly ever watch) services is sending you your piece of the cut anyway - so my conscience is clear in that regard.

  28. rajivdx

    Why? Why pirate Dr Who when the ABC gives it away in every way possible??

    Why should we ever need to pirate Doctor Who?? Its simulcast in Australia at 4:20AM - same time as when its being shown in the UK. How can it be possible to pirate it even earlier?? For those of us who cannot make the effort to wake up at that ungodly hour to watch Dr Who the ABC puts it up on iView for all to watch shortly after the simulcast - and then there are PVR's.

    If any d*ckhead still pirates it after all these efforts the ABC makes to hand it on a plate to us - then he deserves a stout whack on the side of the head.

  29. Steve Potter

    Ah, but there you see what BBC Worldwide actually mean..... people using VPN's are not necessarily obfuscating their actual data but their IP!, they do not like all the ex-pats, holiday makers, emigrants watching iPlayer whilst abroad.

    That's the only time I want to watch iPlayer etc, and the numpties in charge try to stop me.

  30. phuzz Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Why not sell it?

    Why not offer an iPlayer subscription service? Pay £X and get access to everything that is licensed for your country, maybe 24 hours after it's released so local broadcasters (ABC in this case) can get their viewers.

    BBC Worldwide have probably spent time and money trying to reduce piracy of their shows, which will earn them no more money than they do now. Instead put time and money into finding new ways to sell stuff to people who clearly want to view it.

    There's a difference between pirating content because it's the only way you'll get to watch it, and pirating it because you don't want to pay. I have sympathy for the former, but less so for the latter.

  31. The_Idiot

    I don't normally try...

    ... to be deliberately antagonistic (or at least I hope I don't), but perhaps this time...

    For my American cousins. Let's replace 'use of a VPN' with 'possession of a firearm'. Let's replace 'high levels of traffic' with 'purchasing/ consumption of large (value of large to be determined as suits us best) quantities of ammunition'.

    Would it then be acceptable to assume that those who both possess a firearm and who purchase what others see as large amounts of ammunition should be placed in a position of suspicion, and required to prove the validity of their activity?

    In my view? No. In the context of my American cousins, both activities are legal. While authorities may decide to regard such a case with suspicion, as Mr Potts said earlier, they have to then open a case, investigate, establish grounds for more rigorous investigation - the whole nine yards. They may cheat while doing so, but that's another issue.

    Before anyone goes off the deep end, this is not intended as a pro, or indeed anti, gun control comment. I'm simply attempting to transpose the BBC's position. Probably improperly, and probably ineffectively. And in either case, the fault is entirely mine (blush). After all - I'm an Idiot :-).

    If the performance of VPNs did not induce an excess of lag (yes, I'm an online gamer as well), if the costs of effective and reliable VPNs were within my reach, I would also (as previously commented) configure my home net so all traffic was VPN routed. Should that mark me as 'suspicious'? If so, then perhaps locking my door each night should also - or maybe having more than one lock on it (blushes again).

    1. janimal

      Re: I don't normally try...

      You're right, that is not a very good comparison.

      Abuse of copyright is trivial and not even proven to be economically damaging to the victim, whereas misuse of guns & ammo tends to result in much more serious consequences, often to innocent bystanders.

      1. The_Idiot

        Re: I don't normally try...

        I agree entirely - which is why I used the comparison. That is, the target pursued, and potentially supported by authorities in the US, is (in terms of impact) not even close to the target (no pun intended) that will _not_ be pursued - in the US at least.

        And again - this is not intended in any way as an attempt to derail to a gun-control debate. Merely an attempt to rephrase the point made in Australia.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The BBC is probably right

    The vast majority of internet users are copyright pirates and there is only one solution to this problem and that is to abolish copyright completely.

  33. lotus49

    Internet users are suspicious

    It's not just heavy VPN users that are suspicious.

    All internet users might be committing crimes. In fact, everyone who evens uses a computer or phone is probably a paedophile or copyright infringer and, let's face it, they are as bad as each other.

    If you ask me, they should immediately inter anyone who uses any electronic communication device that is not under the direct control of GCHQ/NSA. Its the only language these bastards understand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Internet users are suspicious

      "All internet users might be committing crimes. In fact, everyone who evens uses a computer or phone is probably a paedophile or copyright infringer and, let's face it, they are as bad as each other."

      Home copyright infringement isn't even a crime. It's a civil offence.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VPN

    Very Porn Network

    [joke]

  35. Simone

    The BBC (and other broadcasters) used to have to pay for transmitters for the radio broadcasts. Now they do a lot of it over the internet

    I pay my ISP for their service; I get access to the internet. Hopefully my ISP makes sufficient money to continue to deliver that service

    Now the BBC (and others) want the ISPs to provide resources to police the delivery of their content. The cost of those resources will either come from the ISPs profits or be passed on to me, neither of which makes my service from the ISP better value for me.

    Why don't the ISPs charge the content providers for their traffic; not just their own ISP but ALL ISPs that carry it?

  36. Schultz

    ... education programs to stop Australians pirating

    Oooh, is that the annoying 3 minutes of stupid advertisement ''You are a CRIMINAL!'' they like to insert when you pay good money to see a movie? I love those, not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ... education programs to stop Australians pirating

      I guess they like preaching to the choir.

      "Ever had a video that wasn't quite right?" Yeah sure, the pirated one that lacked all the crappy promos and anti-piracy nonsense that no one cares about.

  37. Jeff Green

    The biggest issue here has been missed by most. The BBC is a PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTER!

    Its major goal should be to have its output as widely viewed as possible. Whilst I accept they could be upset by marginal loss of advertising revenue it will be a vanishingly small amount of money and is best recompensed by asking the ISP of anyone they believe to be infringing being asked to send a polite note saying "As owners to the rights to the material we would be grateful if you watched through our official channels, the advertising revenue from these is used to help fun the creation of new material."

    Nothing more is needed.

    (And I do pay the licence fee!)

  38. admiraljkb

    If the Beebs offered a monthly subscription worldwide for content

    I'd get one. I already pay Hulu, Netflix and Amazon, whats one more? The BBC leaves a lot of revenue on the table due to not understanding what it is being a global commercial enterprise with a proper desire to make money, versus being a local Government enterprise whose desire it is to tax locals in the UK.

    I don't (knowingly) know people using VPN's for piracy, but it is extensively used for business for those of us that work from home or the field a lot.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC for a reason....

    I am a Sky and BBC watcher, I live in the UK and I pay for Sky and my TV licence, there I'm a legal user.

    ...so when I go abroad, fir up my VPN and watch TV from either of those am I stealing, or just breaking the t&c's?

    ...and with regards to VPN and proving the traffic content, sorry I work on government contracts and if IL3 says anything to you you'll know that will never ever happen. What's in my tunnel is in my tunnel for a reason.... oh and yes I hit about 30GB VPN traffic a month over my home DSL sorry but that BBC document isn't worth the paper its written on, regardless of what they are trying to achieve.

    AC=TMR

    1. Keven E.

      Control Issues

      Driven by the spawn of satan itself (read 'marketing') it just irks them to the core that they can't correlate a time, demographic, location and deliver a freakin ad while you are participating in an enjoyable, self chosen event. They couldn't give a flying fark about copyright... the corp exec's need ad revenue. It's what will get them the golden parachute.

  40. JaitcH
    Meh

    Heavy VPN users are probably pirates says BBC

    Well, I plead Guilty, on behalf of my employer to being a heavy VPN user. Very heavy, at least two or three running concurrently.

    Why? Because we transmit material to our customers overseas. It minimises 'oversight' from our authoritarian government. And others.

    But we do run a BitTorrent terminal - hooked to the regular InterNet.

  41. Someone Else Silver badge
    Holmes

    BBC is an acronym for what?

    When I was younger, my dad played for me an old LP. (Vinyl...remember them? About 12" in diameter, and you spin it at 33-1/3 RPM...look it up on Wikipedia if you don't understand...). This was a "bloopers" LP of things that weren't supposed to be on the air, but made it out anyway. As this was from the early 60's, Canada still retransmitted BBC content. The text of one particular blooper always stuck with me:

    "This is the Vancouver Division of the British Broadcorping Castration...uhh...."

    Given what I'm reading here, it seems that that identification is rather accurate nowadays.

  42. janimal
    Facepalm

    Oh The Irony!

    When I try to access iPlayer this evening, it tells me I am outside the UK and won't work. I checked using some online tools & my IP is correctly identified as being in the UK.

    I tried different browsers & clearing cache & history.

    In the end the only way I could access it was ironically through a VPN service.

    Nice one Aunty!

  43. J__M__M

    Somebody tell the BBC they are kicking in open doors here

    ISP's already consider heavy users to be public enemy number one, or at least in the top three anyway.

  44. tom dial Silver badge

    Regret if this has been noted before, but it appears that "rampant pirate" activity consists of a bit under 2.8 million of 22 million Australians "access" Pirate Bay or Kickass Torrent. Some of them download something, some of them doubtless quite a few somethings; and some of those surely are copyright materials from unauthorized sources. Perhaps 10% of the population downloads *something* unlawfully; probably less than 1% do so regularly and in quantity; for much of it the alternative to the illegal download would not have been a legal purchase or viewing.

    The BBC Worldwide submission also claims A$1.37 BILLION in revenue lost to "movie piracy", an amount on the order of 5 to 10 movie theater admission tickets for each Australian. This fanciful number was paid for by "AFACT", probably the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, and needs discounting by at least one and more likely two orders of magnitude before approaching reality. But as it stands, it is under 1/10% of the Australian GDP and so, effectively, economic noise. It is all but certain that any real infringement loss to purveyors of copyrighted material is proportionately much less than mall store inventory shrinkage or grocery store spoilage losses. They are making much of little trying to get the government to impose regulations that will benefit them very little.

    The difficult

  45. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    First we take away your rights, then....

    “It is important that consumers have a right of review or appeal in the event their rights are affected under any new scheme. Consumers should have an available mechanism to challenge what are perceived to be unfair, or incorrect, ‘warnings’ issued by an ISP if a consumer is identified as having infringed copyright.”

    This creep is astonishing.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: First we take away your rights, then....

      Just back from your nap, are you Mr. van Winkle?

      (don't take it personally, I did upvote you and agree 100%)

  46. ecofeco Silver badge

    Probably criminals?

    Well besides banks, I think this will come as a surprise to MANY companies who use VPNs daily and heavily.

    We already know where banks stand.

  47. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Absurd

    if one was to say "Oh, those people heavily using telephones, they might be using them to illegally stream music, phone companies should be required to report all heavy phone users to us", they would be laughed out of the room. This is exactly as absurd.

  48. alwarming
    Paris Hilton

    "Heavy VPN users are probably pirates"

    And big corporations with cameras are probably spies...

    Paris, coz she can strangle the one-eyed pirate....

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The BBC is probably right

    The group W bench is getting a bit crowded with seven of us on here.

  50. mijami

    Block at source

    If the BBC knew that 13,000 Australian IP numbers illegally accessed their material why didn't they just block access while they were doing it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Block at source

      I think you need to google "VPN".

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guilty until proven innocent - par for the course for the BBC

    Back when I was still living in the UK, I moved out of my house to live in my future wife's place. My house was empty for over a year.

    I got very threatening letters from BBC licensing accusing me of breaking the law as there was no TV license covering my property. I then had to explain that the house was empty and there was no TV there. This would placate them for about 6 months, before the next threatening letter arrived. Rinse and repeat.

    Wankers.

  52. shovelDriver

    Suspicious because of what they do; so much so that they should be considered criminals?

    Try it this way: Since numerous media organizations, from print to television to movies, including entertainment AND news organizations, have been found, discovered, outed, and proven to be making up stories and outright lying about stories—lying to investigators and to customers— then all media organizations, private as well as government, must be classified as thieves, placed under continuous surveillance and punished for past transgressions. This must, of course, include individual employees and they must be held personally liable to preclude further crimes against taxpayers and stockholders.

  53. Medixstiff

    Two can play this game.

    Sounds like time for me to get a VPN service.

    Then download as many MSDN ISO's as possible over the next few months, waiting for a lawyer to shout out I'm a pirate.

    Take them to court and profit!

  54. mbdrake

    Given that I used to work in the film and television business, the BBC being one such client, the use of VPNs were commonplace between the post-production facility and the studios/client. This also included sending large chunks of data via UDP-based "super fast" transfer programs.

    We VPNed from anywhere and everywhere and was a requirement of the studios and clients - and not all traffic went through specialist media ISPs like Sohonet either.

    So BBC World's argument for ISPs policing traffic seems rather odd to me on that point alone.

  55. This post has been deleted by its author

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VPN for Video straming

    I use VPN to watch Amazon Prime and Netwflix streaming videos while traveling overseas. I also use VPN when I don't want anyone snooping on my location.

  57. dmangino
    Megaphone

    I am a VPN user. I always use it at work and most especially when I'm shopping online. i need it for my email not to be hacked. I need it because I want to watch tv shows that are banned from my country. And they say VPN users are pirates? Everything is all about business.

  58. RandallFlagg

    Privacy in internet is more difficult than ever

    Ehhhh... there are a lot of users and mostly companies that don't want to see their important information getting stolen by pirates or hackers, and that's why they use VPN software. However, the Government in UK is invading privacy of common Internet users more and more, and therefore more people want to use a VPN.

  59. shovelDriver

    Heavy VPN users probably pirates?

    More likely that writers, "reporters", and editors at the BBC are probably clueless about modern technology.

  60. osamamohiuddin13

    Since the restrictions on online websites keeps incresaing day by day, it is obvious for the users to use alternative solutions to such problem. In my case, Express VPN is the most genuine VPN service of the current era as it offers complete accessibility and security in all possible directions. I got it after reading the detailed review from VPNGrades.com

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