The BBC iPlayer is a popular on-demand video streaming and catch-up service, intended for use by UK residents only. Now the BBC has stepped up its efforts to restrict access to those outside of the UK, particularly those who use VPNs to access the streaming content, reports TorrentFreak (via NeoWin).
You might have noticed that if you went abroad and tried to access BBC iPlayer streaming programmes you were blocked from doing so. A simple message would say that the programmes are "available to play in the UK only". To get around the restriction many people, often paying license holders, have been setting up a UK VPN service on their computers so that they can watch BBC iPlayer on their travels. That service effectively fooled the BBC iPlayer into thinking the steaming person was residing in the UK.
It must be noted that, complicating matters, some UK residents use VPNs even when residing in the UK for security reasons. Some of these users are also reportedly being affected, despite only wanting to protect themselves while hopping on Wi-Fi connections that might be suspect, like free Wi-Fi in a coffee chop, for example.
While the above steps have been implemented, the BBC admits it doesn't have the ability to discriminate between VPN users using this networking tech for protection and those outside of the UK watching iPlayer shows. "We cannot be confident of the location" of such people, explained the corporation in a statement. However some VPN service providers have already announced that they can bypass the BBC's new measures. IPVanish and TorGuard told TF that they could swerve the BBC's blocks, at least periodically.
Earlier this year the BBC closed down an international version of iPlayer which allowed overseas users to view content for a small fee.