Centre planning to keep a watch on what you watch on your television
New Delhi: In a move that may put your television watching pattern under the scrutiny of government agencies, the Centre is planning to introduce a chip in TV set-top boxes to keep a tab on citizens.
According to former senior BJP leader and External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, the government has directed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to ask all Direct To Home (DTH) operators to install a chip in the new set-top boxes which can give data about channels watched by the viewers and their duration.
The letter to TRAI has been written by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on March 12, Sinha said in his article published on NDTV website.
"The TRAI took the view that this was not part of the earlier reference by the ministry and since it was a new issue, the ministry must officially ask for TRAI's recommendation again. The ministry has not yet responded to this communication of the TRAI," Sinha said.
At present, Television Rating Points (TRPs) are measured by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). It is an industry body jointly owned by various private agencies like the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Advertising Agency Association of India. BARC has a select list of 33,000 households across the country.
"It should also be noted that a series of broadcasters have complained formally to BARC about the system being easily rigged and manipulated. Some arrests have been made for those involved with tampering with meters," Sinha wrote in his article.
Sinha further wrote, "In today's day and age, data is power and whoever has access to data is king. The present government in India is less worried about the rights of the citizens and more about its own control over their lives."
"If eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, then the citizen of India must be ready to pay this price by nipping this move of the government in the bud," he further added.
"It is important to remember that while TRPs are important for advertising products for marketing purposes, one has to be careful when such information is used or misused for political purposes," the former BJP leader said.
(With inputs from NDTV)
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