Bell targets satellite TV hackers

Bell ExpressVu fights piracy with technology, cuts off service to TV set stealing signals

One of the country's largest broadcast companies is cracking down on satellite signal theft.

Bell ExpressVu says it's using new technology to cut off service to any TV set equipped to illegally decode its signal.

The move is the latest by the industry to prevent piracy.

Bell ExpressVu is particularly susceptible because its system operates on access cards. The cards, which decode digital programming, are inserted into set-top boxes on televisions.

Timothy McGee, president of ExpressVu, says from now on anyone who hacks the system could have their television service cut off.

"They will not be able to, within a reasonable period of time, continue to watch TV unless they have their set-top box reset by Bell ExpressVu."

Both the cable and satellite industries in Canada are fighting what they call the "grey market satellite" market.

Bell ExpressVu says grey market dishes are in 600,000 to 800,000 homes and the number is growing.

McGee says his company will not press charges against individuals who "steal" signals, for now.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled unlicensed providers who sell decoders to capture foreign satellite signals are breaking the law.

The RCMP launched "Operation Broadcast" this year to track down suppliers of equipment that can be used to hack.