Dataxis held yesterday a new virtual panel, entitled ‘Latin American broadband boom and new pirate TV streaming services’. The event was sponsored by Irdeto, and joined important experts in the industry, such as Rodrigo Aliaga, Director at Digital TV Cable; Sergio Piris, Criminal Counseling, Technological Crimes and Anti-piracy Manager at Telecom Argentina; Gus Rojo, Intelligence Analyst at Irdeto; and Sergio Octavio Valdes Beltran, Manager of External and Regulatory Affairs at DirecTV Colombia
In relation to piracy in pay TV and the broadband and FTTH boom for the advent of pirated IPTVs, Aliaga highlighted that ‘piracy is an industry in constant movement, in order to analyze how content is available for people without paying’. The executive also expressed that, with the FTTH boom, even more so, because more vulnerable bandwidths and systems are delivered, which allow to receive pirated content more easily’. Regarding the growth of broadband during the pandemic, Valdes Beltran emphasized the need for greater connectivity. ‘We need to connect more people, but when we start connecting more people, certain actors take advantage of loopholes in regulation and start spreading the use of pirated content. We have in Colombia about 4 million illegal users. We have interdisciplinary work teams that are working to have effective results in the fight against piracy’, he said.
According to Piris, ‘we saw IPTV in Argentina far away, until we began to detect IPTVs based in Uruguay, and some in Argentina. The 2018 World Cup, for example, was watched for free by many people through IPTV. It was a very strong blow to the industry. We have an internal department in Telecom dedicated exclusively to these issues’, he said. Likewise, Rojo reported that piracy ‘is not a specific Latin American matter, but global’. In addition, he said that ‘’pirate’ operators are organizations that operate specifically within their region, being a person or group. There is always a person or group within that service, who sells it outwards. The organization also grows because they sell the service, and it is more difficult to identify who the owner is‘.
‘We analyze which IPTVs we detect are those that may have competition with our programming grid and we see where they are located, especially in Uruguay and Argentina. We try to get the product to analyze how it works. There are payment facilities, and it may be an element to attack in the future’, Piris reported, and then added that ‘another issue is that IPTVs live off advertising. It would be important to work to see how to leave them without it. In Uruguay there are interesting results from IPTVs that were found and raided. We have IPTVs that are under investigation. In Uruguay, a law is coming out that will allow a more agile blockade, without going through the judicial sphere’, explained the executive, and highlighted the need to speed up the times in this process.
Regarding the role of Governments in Latin America on pirated content, Valdes Beltran said that ‘the most important thing that should be done is a joint work with Governments referents, operators, content providers and society, to ensure that States establish piracy as a problem. By working together, we will achieve effective results. We must consider how we do so that IP blocking is much faster than it is today’. Accordingly, Rojo said that ‘the most important thing is that the laws improve around this type of crime. Suppliers, police and courts need to work together to improve the laws and support legitimate operators to improve the situation’.
‘Piracy has three actors’, Aliaga reported. ‘First, the intellectual property regulator, which in Bolivia is quite precarious in its administration and management. Second, regulation; and, thirdly, to create social awareness on this matter. In relation to regulation, IPTV + licenses are offered. We are in an interesting stage, but there is still a lot to develop in Bolivia and in the region’. Likewise, Piris said that ‘in Argentina, we need to work together throughout the industry. Piracy is not an issue that worries the Argentine State. We have to make the problem known, which affects the State with the loss of a lot of revenues and unemployment. And awareness is very important. In Uruguay, due to the growth of IPTVs, the industry in general came to terms to find legislation, and advertising campaigns came out’. Valdes Beltran stated that ‘in Colombia we are bringing together the industry as a whole, and treating the issue as an ecosystem, which also affects the State and even foreign investment. We began to notice progress due to the interest of operators and internet providers in working in the subject’.
When referring to the Android TV migration and its connection with piracy, Rojo stated that ‘Android boxes can be secured, but there will always be someone who is dedicated to breaking that security. Our clients use more advanced security measures such as forensic watermarks; our intelligence and anti-piracy investigation teams; and others. Android STBs can be secured, but there will always be someone who will break it. And it does not happen only with Android, but with all the devices of the ecosystem’.
Regarding the actions that must be implemented to advance against content piracy, Piris said that ‘we must get the Government involved in Argentina. Today, piracy is not part of the agenda. We must do more awareness campaigns and work regionally. We are having a similar problem in the countries, although some have more tools than others. Likewise, Rojo said that ‘content providers must know that, regardless of the content, everything is desirable for hackers, and they need to work with teams that identify it, and more advanced security measures’.