The Telecommunication Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has been given the added responsibility of setting disputes in the Airport and Cyber industry in addition to Broadcasting and Telecom for the first time it organized a seminar on ‘Fundamentals & Future of Dispute Resolution in Airport, Broadcasting, Cyber and Telecom’ to improve the awareness of the various seminal issues faced by these sectors. The role performed by TDSAT for resolution of disputes may be more effectively discharged when future trends of the industry are anticipated and involve stakeholders to come together to discuss and debate upon emerging areas of concern. Seminars such as this allows for better understanding of the future issues from these sectors and will help charter the right course for earnest resolution of disputes.
The TDSAT was established through amendments to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, 1997 (‘the Act’) introduced by the TRAI (Amendment) Act, 2000. The desired objective in establishing a separate dispute settlement body is to regulate telecommunication service, adjudicate disputes, and dispose of appeals with a view to protect the interests of service providers and consumers in the telecom sector and promote the orderly growth of the sector. In 2004 TDSAT was made the forum to hear disputes from the broadcasting sector also.
The Finance Act, 2017 has enlarged the jurisdiction of TDSAT. It will now adjudicate upon appeals on Cyber Security and rulings from the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (‘AERA’) as well.
Consequently the theme of this seminar has been changed to meet the requirements of all the four industries. In the beginning of inaugural session of the seminar after the opening remarks by Mr. B.B. Srivastava, member of the TDSAT, the Chief Guest, honorable justice Mr. S. K. Mukherjee, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court delivered the inaugural address. Justice Mr. Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, honorable judge of Supreme Court, Mr. S. Machendranathan, Chairperson of AERA, Mr. R. S. Sharma, Chairperson of TRAI, honorable justice Mr. N. Santosh Hegde, former Chairperson of TDSAT also attend the seminar and addressed the audience. Honorable justice Mr. Shiva Kirti Singh, Chairperson of TDSAT concluded the inaugural session.
There were three business sessions during the seminar in which the first one included Mr. B.B. Srivastava, Advocate Mr. Alok Dhir and Mr. S. Machendranathan. The session was aimed at the AERA Act, 2008. The second business session was participated by Mr. A. K. Bhargava, Mr. Pavan Duggal, Mr. Gaurav Gupta and Dr. Aditya Sondhi discussed on ‘Cyber Laws’. The panel of third business session included Mr. R. S. Sharma, Mr. Vipin Tyagi, Mr. Snajay Singh, Mr. Ashok Mansukhani, Mr Kunal Tandon and Mrs. Roop Sharma, President of COFI. The theme of discussion was the present state of Broadcast and Cable TV industry.
Broadcast & Telecom
India is posed to be among the top five economics in the world by 2020. Home to over a billion mobile subscribers and the second largest internet user base in the world, it will become a key force of reckoning for global business, policy and technological advancement. The number of rural internet users in India will reach 280 million by 2018 as against 60 million in 2014, growing at the rate of 40% per annum. This new class of tech-savvy populace indicates a significant growth in middle aged, rural, gender-balanced, mobile, and vernacular-speaking population.
It was observed by the Hon’ble TDSAT that ‘Available figures suggest a TV viewership of 68 million for the whole country. This shows that television viewing has almost attained the status of an essential service in this country’.
Background & Challenges
Cyberspace is now referred to as the fifth dimension of warfare. The unique characteristics, namely of anonymity and difficulty of attribution give cyberspace enormous potential for damage and mischief. India cannot afford to ignore cyber threats as information systems are an essential part of day to day functioning of government: more so with the Digital India program which intends to empower its citizen digitally. The success of the Digital India project would depend upon maximum connectivity with minimum cyber security risks.
In 2013, Govt of India (GOI) released the National Cyber Security Policy. It covers plenty of ground, mentioning everything from information sharing to procedures for risk assessment /risk management to supply chain security to capacity building. However, for the Govt to be maximum prepared, it mist anticipate the emerging concerns in cyber security and address them through regulations.
In June 2017, under the chairmanship of Justice Srikrishna GOI constituted a committee to frame laws pertaining to data protection. The role of Cyber Appellate Tribunal (CAT) is specific under the IT Act (Section 43A-48A). It could gain significant prominence, when data protection laws are enacted.
Challenges & Prospects
1. Emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) and its exposure to cyber threat. With a large number of common devices now being connected on the internet, including devices where the users do not have much control over the communication of the device, the threat to infrastructure and the possibility of rapid spread of such threats is likely to multiply. The CAT must keep in mind the nature of connected devices and the cyber security threats which may arise in this context.
2. Financial infrastructure is at high risk due to the advances in cyber threat. The Finance Minister announced the setting up of the Fin-Cert (Financial Computer Emergency Team) in the 2017 Budget, its establishment is important for the safety of consumers.
3. Exploitation of the Internet’s inherently insecure infrastructure. All internet users rely on ancient foundational protocols, and their ubiquity makes them nearly impossible to revamp or replace. These archaic protocols that have long been the backbone of the Internet and business networks are sometimes surprisingly flaky.
4. As encryption becomes ubiquitous, it has become much harder for security products to inspect traffic, making it easier for criminals to sneak through undetected. Unsurprisingly, cybercriminals are using encryption in creative new ways. The regulations will have to stay ahead of this and recognize security events after code is decrypted on the endpoint.
With the evolution of technology, broadcasting and telecom are rapidly merging, The provision of high speed, bandwidth-rich networks (mobile and fixed), digitization of content and its carriage across any network have been changing the dynamics of the telecom industry in the past few years. These changes have been further accelerated by the development of new and disruptive services which are interconnected through the iinternet and accessed by sophisticated consumer devices, eg IPTV, OTT, SVOD etc.
Challenges & Prospects
In March, 2017, TRAI issued a consultation paper on ease of doing business in the broadcasting sector. Numerous stakeholders submitted their views and TRAI then concluded that for the broadcasting sector to reach its potential, the Department of Space, the Wireless Planning Commission and the Department of Telecom must work in synergy and formulate regulations keeping in mind advancements in technology.
The Standing Committee on Copyright Related Rights, set up by the World Intellectual Property Organization, while hearing the views of stakeholders from the broadcasting industry noted that regulations must anticipate the evolving standards in the industry and must be forward looking.