The British Broadcasting Corporation has had a streaming video service called iPlayer for almost eight years now, and it is supposed to be available only in the United Kingdom, since it relies on the mandatory TV payments from UK citizens. There has been some concern regarding piracy of the iPlayer videos through VPN’s, so the BBC has cut off all VPN access to iPlayer. Even legitimate VPN’s used by citizens of the UK for privacy and security are now blocked.
According to GlobalWebIndex, nearly 60 million people watch iPlayer from areas outside of the UK, circumventing the safeguards that were in place to prevent this, and VPN use has been a primary means of enabling this. The BBC response is that these figures are completely inaccurate, and have told TorrentFreak that, “These figures simply aren’t plausible. All our evidence shows the vast majority of BBC iPlayer usage is in the UK. BBC iPlayer and the content on it is paid for by UK licence fee payers in the UK and we take appropriate steps to protect access to this content.”
At the moment, the only recourse for legitimate users of VPN services is to turn them off while watching iPlayer. For those who are accessing the player from outside the country, various VPN companies are already working on ways to bypass the BBC blockade, and IPVanish and Torguard have solutions in place, at least temporarily. This could soon turn into another game of “whack a mole”, with the VPN services reacting to each new blocking scheme enacted by the BBC.
You can read more on the story at TorrentFreak.