June 21st marked the day that many had been dreading, the BBC started to force some users to register and sign into BBC iPlayer & BBC radio websites and associated apps. The “I’ll do it later” option has now disappeared for many users, although is still shown for some, however quite often the “I’ll do it later” option can be easily reinstated. Simply delete the App/browser cookies and then download the App again from the AppStore or Google Play Store. Sooner or later, once the BBC finish updating their site for all users, this ‘hack’ will disappear.
At this stage there is still no requirement to enter a TV license number so signing up without providing personal details is rather trivial, many people (myself included) see this sign up/personalisation of iPlayer as completely unnecessary and unwanted.
From a security and privacy perspective we want the details entered to be as nondescript as possible, so what options do we have?
Date of birth – this one is easy, anything you like, but it is suggested that it is not related to you or your immediate family. 01/01/1970 is a nice option.
Email address – go to Google and search for ‘disposable email address’, these free services provide access to a limited time mailbox so that you can sign up, pick up email and confirm the email address to satisfy the BBC sign up.
Options include GuerrillaMail or Mailinator, it is recommended that you use a fully random string for the email address, for example ‘XnEDXr4xd@mailinator.com’ (don’t use this one, obviously!). If you need to generate a random string, use something like Random.org. Other options of course, set up a new email address with Gmail, Microsoft Live, or perhaps Hushmail.
If you use a ‘disposable email’ do NOT save any credit/debit card details to any sites you are using, as there is no password for these email accounts it is possible to ‘view’ the mail box at a later date if you know the email address. This is one reason we recommend a fully random string.
Password – these should always be random. If you have trouble remembering passwords and currently use similar variations of the same password look up 1Password, this fantastic app (for mobile devices and computers) allows you to use fully random passwords for all your websites. But the best bit, it can with key stroke or tap of a button automatically fill in these random passwords for you! So all you have to remember is 1 password, usually a sentence made up of multiple words, numbers, etc.
Postcode – this must be a UK postcode, if you prefer not to use your own then simply search for a UK hotel, the BBC headquarters, or even Google for ‘uk postcode generator’ and a number of options are provided.
Gender – it would seem sensible to use the ‘Other’ or ‘Prefer not to say’ option here.
Fill all the various details into the BBC sign up, check your disposable or other email address to confirm your account and away you go.