Posts Tagged ‘BBC Iplayer’

Monday, November 19th, 2012

In the UK there has been a series of sex scandals relating to famous and influential people.  It started with the revelations of a TV star called Jimmy Saville and every week another celebrity seems to be implicated.  Much of this is often fueled by a torrent of online gossip and speculation on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  But for those of us who do tend to gossip a little too freely online there is a cautionary tale to be told.

Last week a BBC documentary (this link if you’re outside UK) covered yet another of these allegations, with out naming the individual involved.  There were some clues however and pretty soon the rumour mill had started up and guesses and accusations were flying around the internet.  Unfortunately the information in the documentary was basically wrong, and the person implied to be guilty of a series of sex attacks was completely innocent.  The name that was flying about the ether was wrong, the accusations unfounded and the accused man very angry and hurt.

The apology came of course in the end, the shambolic investigation by the Newsnight team led to the Director General of the BBC resigning.  Damages were paid and we thought it would then disappear, but not this time.  The falsely accused individual had emplyed a team of Twitter experts to compile a list of all those who had Tweeted and spread the false allegations.  His aim was to sue them all for damages.  The list includes some TV personalities like the comedian Alan Davies and ran to thousands of names.  There was always a sense of anonymity to using Twitter but the reality is that anyone is easily traced by their IP address even if they use false details.

There is little anonymity for anyone online so you should take as much care with what you say online as you do offline.  Also remember that your audience is likely to be significantly bigger!  If you do wish to try and hide your identity then you should be careful about what details you put on any social media accounts.  Also consider investing in a privately run secure connection software which completely obscures your identity online.  There are bonuses to using these because they come with a wide array of servers you can use different IP addresses in different countries – just like these.  So you can switch to a British IP if you want to watch the BBC Iplayer, a US one for Hulu or whatever you need.  Whatever you do though, always presume you have less privacy than you think you do!

At Last the BBC on my Ipad

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

When I got my Ipad I had visions of watching the news from the BBC whilst sitting watching the Californian sun dip below the horizon on my porch.  The best weather in the world combined with the best TV channels on the sexiest piece of technology that I’ve ever seen.  Unfortunately the reality didn’t quite happen as when I tried to access the BBC through their IPlayer application I was informed that I couldn’t watch due to my location.

Let me be quite clear although I’m currently in the US, I am a UK tax payer and perhaps more relevent a license fee payer too.  To be told I couldn’t watch the BBC news because of where I happened to be was rather annoying to be honest.  So I searched online, I read about the technology that was stopping me – apparently callled Geotargeting.  This involves a web site looking up your IP address when you connect and then cross referencing with a database listing all the locations.  So if you connect from California, I get an American IP address.

I figured there must be a way to hide your IP address and also your location – and I was right.  Firstly I discovered that you could use a proxy server based in another country to get access.  This however was a bit fiddly and involved changing my settings in Safari each time.  I looked further and finally found a solution that worked specifically on the Ipad using a VPN – http://www.theninjaproxy.org/ninja/how-to-watch-bbc-iplayer-on-your-ipad-from-outside-the-uk/.

It’s surprisingly easy to do, the VPN can be enabled or disabled at will.  When it’s connected I appear to be in the UK wherever I actually am and as such I can watch the BBC whenever I like.  Even the desktop version works ok over VPN which allows you to download the shows and watch them later with no buffering.

Free the Internet – Using Proxies

Monday, July 9th, 2012

There’s an increasing trend for companies and governments to control the internet.  Go to any major website and you’ll probably find something called Geotargeting happening.  This is  the practice of looking up your location and producing content based on your location.  Many websites block access to much of their content if you’re not from a specific country for instance.  If you’re in the US for example you’ll get blocked trying to access UK media sites like the BBC, if you’re in Europe you’ll get blocked from awesome US media sites like Hulu.

Fortunately this internet censorship is easy to bypass – all you need to do is use proxy or VPN servers to fool servers about your location.  This page for example shows how you can use a BBC proxy based in the UK to watch BBC Iplayer.  It’s simple to use, but unfortunately does involve a subscription payment to pay for the servers.  Worth checking out especially if your living away from your home country and are having problem accessing stuff.

If you’re using a mobile device like a phone, iPad or tablet the choices are a little more restricted but still plentiful.  Some of the services will work on other platforms too, this video shows how to set a VPN on an iPad and the method is similar on iPhones, Tablets and even Android phones.