More BBC iPlayer Encryption FOI Materials

I received some further materials from the BBC about the iPlayer encryption issues. My request is covered in the BBCs’ Final Response. They released 2 documents, one I specifically asked for entitled “Pan-BBC Approach to Combating Piracy“, another entitled “Public/Press reaction to introduction of SWF Verification on iPlayer – Briefing Paper”.

They again denied my request for details on the mystery rights holders, however I have since noticed Alan Cox made a similarish request relating to the FreeView HD encryption and his response lists the following organisations as having indicated interest to the BBC in the Freeview HD encryption proposal:

  • ITV
  • C4
  • S4C
  • Five
  • BBC Worldwide
  • Disney
  • Fox Entertainment
  • Sony Pictures
  • Time Warner

I’ve sent the following reply to the BBC:


Thank you very much for this. I am glad to hear the BBC intends
to publish a blog entry relating to these issues soon. It is very
much a goal of mine in all this to seek to provoke useful, productive

I am very disappointed that you have chosen to deny my request
for information on which organisations are making encryption
requirements on the BBC. I note that have you supplied such
information to an extremely similar request that covered the HD DVB
encryption, at:

I do not quite understand how the DVB-T2 EPG encryption issue is
different from the iPlayer encryption/DRM issue. I would ask you
review your decision in light of the above to ensure your decisions
are consistent.

I am also disappointed you were unable to supply further documents.
E.g. you must surely have recent documents covering the SSL/TLS
authentication encryption scheme for iPlayer, brought to public
attention recently with the launching of the iPad iPlayer. Such
documents seem to fairly clearly fall within the scope of my recent
requests, and yet somehow none of the documents I have received have
mentioned this scheme. I would ask you review your response to ensure
you have not accidently missed out such documents – it seems you must

I thank you again for your time in all this. I apologise again for
the burden, but I stress again that I feel there is a strong public interest in this.


Paul Jakma


  1. […] This is why I oppose what the BBC is doing with its content protection. […]

  2. Paul Jakma said

    The BBCs A&M Interactive / Distribution Technologies unit’s view on DRM:

    We believe that it not necessary to apply Digital Rights Management (DRM) to any of our streams (Live or On Demand). If we were to apply DRM to our streams we would immediately reduce the possible audience, as doing so would reduce the number of player systems that our streams would work on.

    From an FOI request on open format radio streams.

  3. Philip Colmer said

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is “Section 43”? It looks like quite a bit of the PDF on encryption has been redacted and replaced with that phrase handwritten.

    • Paul Jakma said

      It’s one of the exemptions in the FOI request. Section 43 is commercially sensitive information; s.42 is personally sensitive; s.12 is “would take too much work” (that one appears as a refusal reason in the “Final Response” letters).

  4. Hi – you may interested in this blog post about the BBC’s approach to combating piracy. It’s the one promised to Paul as part of the correspondence above:

  5. Marc said

    I really miss watching BBC. I am now living abroad and am looking for a way to watch my favorite shows.

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