Govt for chip in set­top boxes, Cong says sur­veil­lance sarkar

Financial Chronicle - - FUNDAMENTALS, POLITICS -

THE Congress on Mon­day at­tacked the Modi gov­ern­ment over its pro­posal to in­stall a chip in tele­vi­sion set­top boxes to as­cer­tain view­er­ship data, dub­bing the move a se­ri­ous breach of pri­vacy and the “next stage of sur­veil­lance”.

Congress com­mu­ni­ca­tions in-charge Ran­deep Sur­je­w­ala al­leged that In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani wanted to now know what shows peo­ple watch within the four walls of their bed­rooms. Sur­je­w­ala tweeted “BREAK­ING! The Next Stage of Sur­veil­lance by BJP Re­vealed! In a se­ri­ous breach of pri­vacy, Sm­riti Iraniji wants to know what show you watch on your TV, within the four walls of your bed­room, with­out your per­mis­sion! Why? ‘Ab ki baar Sur­veil­lance sarkar’. The right to pri­vacy bro­ken into pieces.”

The In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing min­istry has pro­posed in­stalling a chip in new tele­vi­sion set-top boxes which will pro­vide data about chan­nels watched and for how long.

A se­nior of­fi­cial of the min­istry said the move is aimed at get­ting “more au­then­tic” view­er­ship fig­ures for ev­ery chan­nel.

“This would help ad­ver­tis­ers and the DAVP to spend their ad­ver­tis­ing ex­pen­di­ture wisely. Only those chan­nels which are widely watched will get pro­moted,” the of­fi­cial added.

The Direc­torate of Ad­ver­tis­ing and Vis­ual Pub­lic­ity (DAVP) is the nodal agency of the gov­ern­ment for ad­ver­tis­ing by var­i­ous min­istries and its or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The II&B min­istry told the Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity of In­dia (TRAI), “It is also pro­posed to ask DTH op­er­a­tors to in­stall a chip in the new set-top boxes which can give data about chan­nels watched and their du­ra­tion.”

The pro­posal was part of the min­istry’s re­sponse to a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions made by the TRAI on is­sues re­lated to new di­rectto-home li­censes.

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