Free Press Journal

Modi govt is ‘surveillance sarkar’, says Congress

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Chips in TV set-top boxes

New Delhi : The Congress on Monday protested against government’s attempt to keep a tab on what you watch on TV at home, dubbing it as the new stage of ‘surveillance’ by the  BJP.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry of Smriti Irani has sent a proposal to the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) for allowing a chip in the set-top box for getting reliable data on the viewership of various television stations.


Congress communication chief Randeep Singh Surjewala took offence to this as birth of a ‘Surveillance Sarkar’ that will tear to shreds the privacy.

“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,” tweeted Surjewala.

So far the viewership data is provided by the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARK), but the ministry felt this data may not be accurate. It suspicion arose from BARK showing very poor viewership of the state-run Doordarshan.

Moreover, it said BARK does not disclose its methodology for its weekly reports on the TV viewership.

As of present, TRAI has not approved the ministry”s proposal, asking it for a separate reference on installing the desired chip in the set-top boxes since it would encroach upon privacy of the TV viewers.