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What is packet sniffing?

Data sent over an internet network is typically split into “packets” – bundles of information that, together, make up a bigger file such as a web page or online video. By monitoring an internet network, eavesdroppers can detect these packets being sent.

Does it put my privacy at risk?

As well as the data itself, packets contain additional information such as the internet addresses of the sender and receiver and how it gets to its destination. However, most of this information is now sealed by encryption when sent over a home Wi-Fi network, making snooping difficult.

So how can the BBC tell if I am using iPlayer?

The BBC has promised not to break encryption or to exploit connections at its end of the network. However, it can monitor information including the size and frequency of packets. While this data would normally be useless to an eavesdropper, but the BBC could manipulate the packets that the iPlayer sends out to see if they match those on a network.

Is this legal?

Packet sniffing is generally illegal on somebody else’s network but the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act gives certain bodies permission to monitor internet communications. The BBC has been given authority under the Act to watch home Wi-Fi connections.

Can I tell if someone is monitoring me?

Since the BBC is not cracking a network when monitoring Wi-Fi, adding a password to a home router will do little to prevent this sort of packet sniffing. A van would also not necessarily have to be directly outside a property to pick up its network if it uses special antennas that can pick up signals from long distances.

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What is packet sniffing?

 

Data sent over an internet network is typically split into “packets” – bundles of information that, together, make up a bigger file such as a web page or online video. By monitoring an internet network, eavesdroppers can detect these packets being sent.

 

Does it put my privacy at risk?

 

As well as the data itself, packets contain additional information such as the internet addresses of the sender and receiver and how it gets to its destination. However, most of this information is now sealed by encryption when sent over a home Wi-Fi network, making snooping difficult.

 

So how can the BBC tell if I am using iPlayer?

 

The BBC has promised not to break encryption or to exploit connections at its end of the network. However, it can monitor information including the size and frequency of packets. While this data would normally be useless to an eavesdropper, but the BBC could manipulate the packets that the iPlayer sends out to see if they match those on a network.

 

Is this legal?

 

Packet sniffing is generally illegal on somebody else’s network but the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act gives certain bodies permission to monitor internet communications. The BBC has been given authority under the Act to watch home Wi-Fi connections.

 

Can I tell if someone is monitoring me?

 

Since the BBC is not cracking a network when monitoring Wi-Fi, adding a password to a home router will do little to prevent this sort of packet sniffing. A van would also not necessarily have to be directly outside a property to pick up its network if it uses special antennas that can pick up signals from long distances.

Whatever happened to the term "privacy of your own home"?

I don't agree with anybody receiving TV free, that would( and does ) cost people like me a lot of money, but I think this is, by far, a step in the wrong direction.

Just make the whole thing PAYG .

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