The Congress on Monday accused the government of wanting to breach the privacy of citizens by installing chips in set-top boxes. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said this was the “next stage of surveillance” by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has reportedly proposed installing chips in new television set-top boxes to collect data on channels that viewers watch and for how long.

An unidentified official of the ministry told PTI that this would help get “more authentic” viewership data so that advertisers – including the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity – spend wisely. The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity is the government agency that issues advertisements for ministries.

“In a serious breach of privacy, [Minister for Information and Broadcasting] Smriti Iraniji wants to know what show you watch on your TV, within the four walls of your bedroom, without your permission!” Surjewala tweeted. “Why? The right to privacy broken into pieces.” He also called the government “surveillance sarkar”.