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TV detector vans may have been a con all along
This is shaking my world view -- although I find it more plausible that (as responses to https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-22440,00.html claim) they _did_ work until about 10-20 years ago, by detecting RF emissions from the local oscillator inside the TV.

Ross Anderson, at https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/Papers/SE-15.pdf , notes:

During [..] World War II, radio engineering saw advances in radar, passive direction
finding, and low-probability-of-intercept techniques, which I’ll discuss in the next
chapter. By the 1960s, the stray RF leaking from the local oscillator signals in domestic
television sets was being targeted by direction-finding equipment in “TV detector
vans,” in Britain, where TV owners must pay an annual license fee that is supposed to
support public broadcast services. Its use has since expanded to satellite and cable TV
operators, who use detector vans to find pirate decoders. Some people in the computer
security community were also aware that information could leak from cross-coupling
and stray RF (see, for example, [259, 791]).
rf  radio  tv  bbc  tv-licenses  tv-license-detector-vans  security  emissions  tempest 
august 2016 by jm
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