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SC Notice to Centre on Content Streamed by Online Platforms

Unlike the apex court, the High Court did not issue notice on the NGO’s petition but had only sought the government’s response

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A gardener works on the lawns of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India, Aug. 22, 2017. VOA

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond on a plea seeking guidelines on the regulation of uncertified and sexually explicit content being streamed on global online platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notice after hearing the petitioner. Earlier, the plea was dismissed by the Delhi High Court on February 8. The petitioner had moved the apex court challenging the High Court order.

The petitioner, Justice for Rights Foundation through its advocate H.S. Hora stated that online streaming platforms do not have a licence to function, and the same argument was accepted by the ministries concerned in their response on the plea in the High Court.

According to the petitioner, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had said that for these streaming platforms, it is not mandatory to get a licence from the ministry. Later, the High Court dismissed the petition.

The plea said: “The said online platforms are displaying unlicensed, unregulated, uncertified content and collecting subscription amounts from Indian consumers whereas the content telecast on the online platforms is illegal to the extent that certain movies are banned under the provisions of the Indian Cinematograph Act.”

netflix
The new plans appearing on Netflix India’s website lists the weekly mobile-only plan for Rs 65, basic plan for Rs 125. Pixabay

Arguing in the High Court, the petitioner contended that series like “Sacred Games”, “Game of Thrones” and “Spartacus”, broadcast on platforms such as Netflix, contain sexually explicit content and depict women in objectionable manner.

The petitioner argues that the online content has not even passed by the Central Board for Film Certification.

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Unlike the apex court, the High Court did not issue notice on the NGO’s petition but had only sought the government’s response.

The NGO, in its petition in the High Court, had claimed that online media streaming platforms, including Hotstar, show content which is not regulated and also not even certified for broadcast in public. (IANS)

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Now The Hackers May Want To Crack Down What You Stream on Netflix

While Netflix contended that carrying out such an attack would not be easy as it requires access to network traffic for analysis, the IIT Madras researchers pointed out that tricking users into connecting to rogue routers or access points is quite possible for hackers.

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Netflix
"I work on analysis of encrypted network traffic, and when we stumbled upon this Netflix movie Bandersnatch it was something very new," Gargi Mitra, a PhD student at IIT Madras was quoted as saying by the WIRED. Pixabay

Despite Netflix’s move to encrypt all its video streams in order to better protect user privacy, hackers may still get to know what interactive content you watch on the popular streaming service, new research from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras suggests.

The researchers said that they can analyse Netflix’s encrypted interactive video traffic to find clues about the viewing habits of users, and which choices they have made in their movie journeys, the WIRED reported on Sunday.

Netflix
Analysing the choices that 100 viewers made, the researchers were able to determine the decisions correctly 96 per cent of the time, the report said Pixabay

The interactive content on Netflix allows users to make choices for the characters and shape the story. Each choice leads to a different adventure, so users can watch again and again, and see a new story each time. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and You vs. Wild are some of the interactive titles that Netflix has.

“I work on analysis of encrypted network traffic, and when we stumbled upon this Netflix movie Bandersnatch it was something very new,” Gargi Mitra, a PhD student at IIT Madras was quoted as saying by the WIRED.

hacking
The researchers said that they can analyse Netflix’s encrypted interactive video traffic to find clues about the viewing habits of users, and which choices they have made in their movie journeys, the WIRED reported on Sunday. Pixabay

“But when I was looking at the choice-making interactions it turned out that they are similar to other kinds of interactions in web applications and web sites I study. So I tried out some of my techniques and we were able to determine which options the viewer chooses,” Mitra added.

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While Netflix contended that carrying out such an attack would not be easy as it requires access to network traffic for analysis, the IIT Madras researchers pointed out that tricking users into connecting to rogue routers or access points is quite possible for hackers.

Analysing the choices that 100 viewers made, the researchers were able to determine the decisions correctly 96 per cent of the time, the report said. (IANS)