What’s This Thing With the Android Box and Should You Be Worried?
Many of you may be familiar with the Android Box, a set-top box that runs Android OS. It’s designed to be used together with a TV, effectively making even older displays a Smart TV. However, there’s been some commotion recently surrounding the product in Malaysia and it can affect a wide variety of users with negative consequences. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?
What’s Happening Now with Android Box in Malaysia?
Recently, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Ministry (MCMC) has issued a stern warning against Android box suppliers and sellers on the use of SIRIM certification and MCMC-certified labels. Specifically, they are not to use them to mislead the public into believing that the act of illegally streaming / downloading media content on the Android Box is allowed / legal. MCMC, in collaboration with MDTCA (Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs), has also blocked IP access to several servers with regards to this matter.
The warning states that there will be no compromises if they find any misuse of the MCMC-certified labels by sellers / suppliers. Such actions that may be taken include the disqualification of certifications for the Android Box and an order to pull back all sales of the product. They’ve also advised the public to not be tricked by the sellers who bundle the product with illegal streaming packages / services as they may end up getting punished by law.
As of right now, a total of RM67,000 in fines have been issued to supplier and sellers in a total of four cases. Moreover, there are seven more with fines amounting to RM194,500 that have been brought to court.
What Punishments Could You Face?
|Regulation 15||Design, installations, operation, maintenance, or modification of communications equipment contrary to standards or likely to cause inoperability / interference / safety||On conviction, fine not exceeding RM300,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years, or both|
|Regulation 16||Use, offer for sale, or sale of communications equipment contrary to standards, not certified, or no longer complies with standards||On conviction, fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or both|
You may be thinking that this affects only the sellers / suppliers of it and that you, the consumer, are immune. Unfortunately, that is not the case and you could end up being charged as it is against the law. As part of MCMC regulation 15 for “design, installations, operation, maintenance, or modification of communications equipment contrary to standards or likely to cause inoperability / interference / safety”, you can be fined not more than RM300,000 and / or imprisoned for not more than 3 years.
Then there’s also MCMC regulation 16 for “use, offer for sale, or sale of communications equipment contrary to standards, not certified, or no longer complies with standards”, which carries a fine of not more than RM100,000 and / or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months.
What Can You Do About It?
The use of Android Box in general is not illegal but there are some measures that you can take in order to protect yourself. For starters, you can check the authenticity of the SIRIM label. Just because it says it has doesn’t mean that it’s truly a certified product, especially with the actions taken by MCMC is rather recent. You can easily check the authenticity using the Check Your Label app by SIRIM on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
If you find that the SIRIM label isn’t valid / authentic, then proceed to make a report as soon as possible. You can easily do so online via MDTCA’s eAduan portal, which you can access by clicking right here.
Of course if you’re not using an Android Box, then don’t worry about it. If you do have friends / family members who are, you should keep them informed about this to avoid potential issues down the road.
What Should You Not Do?
There are a number of things that you shouldn’t do with regards to this matter. For starters, you should stop using uncertified / illegal Android Box products. Not only is it against the law, your safety isn’t assured and it could cause “frequency interference”.
Secondly, do not try to access the servers blocked by MCMC / MDTCA by any means whatsoever. Whether it’s by altering your DNS or using Virtual Private Networks (VPN), it is still illegal and you may find yourself charged by law.
Now that you’re aware of this, be a smart consumer and keep the ones you care about informed so they won’t find themselves on the wrong end of the law by accident.