Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BBC Robber Barons

The spectre of medieval robber barons lives on in Great Britain, courtesy of the nefarious tax that UK residents must pay for the priviledge of living in the 21st century, the information toll known as a "TV Licence".

To earn the priviledge of watching television, listening to the radio, searching the internet, watching movies on DVD, you must pay the UK's feudal communications gatekeepers the annual fee of £139.50, or about $275.
The tolls are collected by TV Licensing, the " name used by companies contracted by the BBC to administer the collection of television licence fees and enforcement of the television licensing system."

They're an organization not entirely without heart; "If you are blind or severely sight impaired, you can apply for a 50% concession on the cost of your TV Licence."

While there are precious few public funds available to run the UK prison system effectively, there seems no shortage of funding for collecting the TV License tolls, resulting in 1,000 toll evaders being caught every single day:

At the heart of our operation is the TV Licensing database. This contains more than 29.5 million home, business and student addresses, telling us which of these have a TV Licence. All of our Enforcement Officers have access to this database and can check whether or not you have a licence. We also have a fleet of detector vans, which are capable of detecting the use of TV receiving equipment within 20 seconds, and many of our Enforcement Officers carry hand-held detection devices too.
As you watch your TV in the UK, your TV watches you. You are all In The Database:

[Hat tip to Flares Into Darkness]

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