This ain't news, but it's hilarious(ly awful)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_licensing_in_the_United_Kingdom
In the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies, any household watching or recording live broadcast television transmissions (terrestrial, satellite, cable, or internet) is required to purchase an annual television licence. As of 2010, this costs £145.50 for colour and £49.00 for black and white. Income from the licence is primarily used to fund the television, radio and online services of the BBC.
Well ok, whatever guy, it isn't like you can enforce that. Anyone can buy a TV and it isn't like they know you're watching TV or anything.http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/annual-review/rev_01/bbcrdar01part5.pdf
Licence fee evasion in Britain continues to fall due to improvements in detection methods, combined with media publicity to ensure that evaders recognise the risk of being caught. Evaders are tracked down with the help of handheld detectors and a fleet of detector vans, using a national database of licence holders.
At BBC R&D we are working on a project to develop new detection methods to supplement those already in use. We have investigated a wide range of methods and chosen for development those which are quickest and most accurate, with a view to minimising the time spent by a detector van at each target site. We have added a satellite-based navigation system which helps minimise the time spent travelling between sites. The detection equipment in the van is controlled by a PC, which presents a very user-friendly interface to the operator. The detection results are recorded automatically. The van will be in frequent contact with TV Licensing’s database to check whether the viewer has a current licence.
Detector vans that drive around and can detect if people are watching TV? What?
It is possible that detection activities may be circumscribed by the new European Human Rights Act, so (for example) we may not be permitted to know the channel being viewed or the make of set being used. In this case, the detection equipment would inform the operator of what it had determined; this data (although it would not be revealed or recorded) would still be a powerful confirmation of detection.
They can figure out what TV you own and what channel you're watching? Well, I guess if they never say they'll use that information it must be ok.
We are also investigating the further possibilities of handheld detectors. Indeed, our first product was a handheld magnetic detector designed for use where van access is impracticable; since then we have added a shirt-pocket equivalent for covert operation.