The BBC has decided to restrict access to its iPlayer service if you’re using a VPN in the UK for legitimate privacy concerns. Despite the BBC’s bizarre reasoning, there are many legitimate circumstances where a VPN is essential especially in the modern age of data collection. A BBC spokesperson told TorrentFreak:
“BBC iPlayer is freely available to users across the UK without a VPN, and we also seek to ensure users of private VPNs such as those used by schools and companies in the UK have access.”
The broadcaster is now sending out e-mails in regards to disgruntled customers which reads:
“You have reported that your IP address is incorrectly being recognised as outside of the UK when using BBC iPlayer. However we cannot support users using VPN networks as we cannot be confident of the location of the end user. This is because our database will give us the location of the associated VPN or proxy server, rather than of the actual end user. For this reason our Geo IP database will block access to UK-restricted content.”
In the UK, residents are required by law to purchase a license fee to access traditional television broadcasts and the iPlayer streaming service. Many argue this is an outdated notion and the BBC is under extreme pressure to try to offer the taxpayer value-for-money. Putting the politics aside, the BBC is consistently displaying messages on the iPlayer service informing users that they need a TV license to continue viewing. This kind of messaging is similar to purchasing a DVD which contains copyright disclaimers before you can watch the film.
As a result, the BBC has to be very careful not to frustrate the viewing audience and create a poor user experience. Companies need to realize that the internet has no borders, and blocking can often lead to people engaging in piracy.