In recent years, broadcasting and information
society services (IS services) have been making ever-increasing use of conditional
access devices. This trend is expected to gather pace as the market for these
services develops. The conditional access device (CA) provides the user with a
technical facility which allows him to determine who has access to electronically-distributed
services and under which conditions. In order to improve the legal situation of
providers of broadcasting and IS services, the European Commission has recently
drafted and adopted a Directive on the legal protection of services based on,
or consisting of, conditional access (CAD)This Directive introduces a common standard
of legal protection for conditional access devices. However, it focuses exclusively
on conditional access devices that serve the remuneration interest of service
providers and makes no provision for CA devices that serve other interests.
traditional role of conditional access is to ensure that viewers see only those
programs that they have paid to view. In the digital environment, conditional
access has evolved far beyond this role. Today's conditional access systems still
support traditional pay TV revenue generation. In addition they enable TV operators
to create and protect a unique gateway to the enhanced TV experience - a world
of interactive services, including home shopping, games, sports, interactive advertising,
and pay-perview programming.
Using today's conditional access systems, you
can target programming, advertisements, and promotions to subscribers by geographic
area, by market segment, or according to subscribers' personal preferences.You
can take advantage of conditional access features to implement flexible program
packaging options and support new ways of generating revenue.
Access System (CAS) is defined as any technical measure and/or arrangement whereby
access to the protected service in an intelligible form is made conditional upon
prior individual authorization.
definition of conditional access indicates the two key features of CA - the possibility:
to exercise control over the access to a service or content which is transmitted
- to control the conditions under which access is granted.
main conditional access techniques which are currently supported are:
- encryption devices.
and filtering devices are also increasingly used in the Internet domain, mainly
to prevent undesirable material from being delivered to minors, but also for other
applications, such as the secure delivery of professional documents. " Push
technologies" in the Internet domain could possibly also be assimilated into
access control since, on the basis of this technology, content or material is
sent only to selected receivers. In the longer term, devices based on biometrics
will also be increasingly used to implement conditional access, particularly within
the framework of banking services or any other activity, which involves authentication
of users, certification of parties and integrity of data.
A conditional access system comprises a combination of scrambling
and encryption to prevent unauthorized reception. Encryption is the process of
protecting the secret keys that are transmitted with a scrambled signal to enable
the descrambler to work. The scrambler key, called the control word must, of course,
be sent to the receiver in encrypted form as an entitlement control message (ECM).
The CA subsystem in the receiver will decrypt the control word only when authorized
to do so; that authority is sent to the receiver in the form of an entitlement
management message (EMM). This layered approach is fundamental to all proprietary
CA systems in use today.
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