DTH operator Tata Sky has strongly urged the Authority not to mandate/ recommend any kind of reverification exercise or collection of additional documents from existing or new customers. Tata Sky is also strongly against the proposal to incorporate the STB with a location-based system (LBS).
The operator said that as per judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, Aadhaar verification has been dis-allowed in Telecom sector. Without Aadhar verification operators have to collect Identity and address proof from around 100 Million users, this will cause nothing but inconvenience and extra cost to the consumers.
The operator said that a KYC system is already being followed while installing a new connection. New users fill a Consumer application form (CAF) with name, address and contact numbers along with other details.
Periodic reverification has its own challenges, like customer not available or not allowing to inspect his/her premises. Tata sky also said that to ensure cooperation authorities have to send police officials during premises inspection.
Tata Sky asked TRAI that if somehow operators manage to do a periodic reverification and report that to the government what will happen next? Will government prosecute such individuals for such activity and take penal action?
The operator explained that fitting a Location based system (LBS) will increase the cost of the set-top box which will be levied finally on end consumers. Moreover, this will cause unnecessary interruption for legit viewers if there is some signal issue or device malfunction.
Location based systems will cause major controversy because Installing such a device in set top boxes has huge privacy issues, it can be easily linked with the tracking of citizens.
Tata Sky reminded TRAI about a similar situation in 2017 when MIB introduced a proposal to install chips on the set top box for recording viewing pattern of consumers. Because of the huge privacy concerns, MIB had to finally shelve that proposal.
Tata Sky said that doing KYC through any system be it Aadhar or Identity and address proof will also not stop the smuggling of DTH to other countries. This is a Customs or Border Control issue, the government should train them to stop this smuggling instead of passing the job to operators.
Tata Sky was replying to a consultation paper released by TRAI in July on KYC of DTH Set-Top Boxes to stop piracy and illegal smuggling to other countries.