GlobalPlatform Industry Interview – Premium Content Protection
GlobalPlatform recently spoke with members of its Premium Content Task Force
about the role of GlobalPlatform Specifications in protecting premium content. In this
industry interview, they share their thoughts about the state of the industry and the part
that GlobalPlatform can play in the ecosystem.
Can you tell us why the GlobalPlatform membership created a Premium
Content Task Force?
GlobalPlatform established the Premium Content Task Force in 2012, in response to
the growing consumption of premium content on mobile devices, tablets, set-top boxes
and smart TVs, and the requirement for the content to be hosted in a protected and
secure environment. The group recognizes that stakeholders need to have clearly
defined standards to ensure market consistency, promote product confidence and
encourage a commercially viable ecosystem. Yet the industry currently experiences a
lack of harmonization with respect to Ultra High Definition (UHD) content protection
compliance and robustness requirements, laboratory testing and other issues. This
provides challenges for technology companies that need to understand different
requirements for UHD protection.
What are some of the group’s key objectives and initiatives?
The task force works with content copyright holders, aggregators, technology
providers and device manufacturers to understand commonalities and differences in the
technology and security requirements needed to protect content. It aims to reduce the
compliance burden on manufacturers, helping them to avoid multiple certification
programs by using GlobalPlatform certification in partial fulfilment of the requirements of
digital rights management (DRM) compliance programs. In creating a common
vocabulary and tools, the task force helps manufacturers to show DRM schema
operators how their architecture meets those requirements.
The task force also aspires to promote GlobalPlatform’s overarching security goals
to the industry. This includes security’s formalization, through the Trusted Execution
Environment (TEE), through APIs and through certification to assist stakeholders in
overcoming fragmentation in the industry.
How does the task force view the DRM / content protection industry today?
We perceive a great diversity of requirements with respect to security in the market
today. Movie studios have different requirements to streaming services, thanks to
differences in the economics of their services. But even the studios take varying
positions, based on factors such as quality of encoding, release window, streaming
versus download, the region that the content is being released into and in addition any
bilateral agreements that may have been reached between studios and individual
providers. The bottom line is that the different UHD DRM schema cannot be described
The industry is in the early stages of formalizing UHD, 4K and high dynamic range
video (HDR) protection requirements and at present there is a clear lack of
harmonization. This diversity operates at different levels of the device hierarchy and
affects approaches to compliance including schema, lab testing and certification. There
is also diversity regionally in terms of the go to market ecosystem, with competing
standards in different geographies.
There is also a perception that the industry is not yet mature, with limited content
currently available for UHD devices.
Hence it’s true that studios have started to set the direction for the industry and
have called for lab-based third party certification of content protection implementation.
But the stated current lack of requirements harmonization for types of content and
devices has resulted in the place the industry finds itself today. Even though studios and
DRM schema would prefer lab testing, vendors are still opting for self-assessment rather
than formal certification.
But even players who do not see the business value today of certification are
enthusiastic about what GlobalPlatform is doing to advance the TEE’s role in content
protection and are monitoring it carefully. The perception of threat may be low at this
point but so is the availability of premium content. The situation may look very different
in the future if the threat is not addressed soon.
It’s clear that fragmentation leads to greater friction and ultimately it’s in the
industry’s interests to reduce or eliminate friction, thus opening up the marketplace to a
wider range of compatible and interoperable platforms for the secure playback of
Does GlobalPlatform have any suggestion on how to address this
GlobalPlatform has a baseline technology, anchored around the TEE Protection
Profile, readily and freely available to the industry. Utilizing TEE technology will provide
needed protections for premium content and standardizing the TEE will reduce industry
fragmentation. GlobalPlatform also adds additional value through certification of TEEs to
a known security threshold.
The task force has recently reviewed UHD DRM schema requirements and mapped
the commonalities and differences to GlobalPlatform’s Protection Profile. By defining the
commonalities, we were able to isolate the differences required by each DRM schema.
The industry will benefit from a proven and ready to go baseline technology being in
place. This is why the availability of GlobalPlatform’s TEE, the Protection Profile and
compliance scheme, as well as the fact that GlobalPlatform is already in the ecosystem
gathering contributions from all the industry players, is so important. In many ways the
organization is ahead of the curve in defining the security of content protection. In
addition we can leverage our experience of achieving penetration of our technologies in
other industries. We fully expect that these baseline technologies will play a huge role in
the protection of premium content in the coming years.
Can you share with us some of the accomplishments of the task force thus
The group has made concrete achievements in recent years. These include:
- Establishing a liaison agreement with the Secure Content Storage Association
(SCSA) and continuing outreach to the industry through meetings with major film
studios, DRM providers and the Advanced Access Content System Licensing
Administrator (AACS LA);
- Conducting surveys of public and non-public DRM schema, with the goal of
understanding commonality and differences in various UHD DRM schema requirements;
- Completing a gap analysis between SCSA compliance and robustness rules (CRR)
and the GlobalPlatform TEE Protection Profile;
- Mapping the GlobalPlatform TEE Protection Profile against movie studio enhanced
content protection requirements;
- Publishing system requirements for secure video playback platforms;
- Delivering presentations at major events including the Anti-Piracy and Content
Protection Summit in recent years.
We also have the goal of helping our membership understand how different UHD
DRM schema requirements relate to each other, how they can be aligned, and how they
are mapped to the GlobalPlatform TEE Protection Profile as a common base.
What will the task force focus on going forward?
The TEE is a significant part of the premium content protection chain but it is not the
only part. Pressing security threats also lie elsewhere in the chain, meaning that they are
outside the scope of GlobalPlatform’s Protection Profile. Hence we can add to our value
proposition by considering where extension profiles for covering the secure media path
and secure output would be beneficial to the industry. Our gap analysis between SCSA
compliance and robustness rules and the GlobalPlatform TEE Protection Profile is an
example of where we may identify a need for a specific extension.
What is GlobalPlatform doing to build industry awareness of this baseline
technology and associated certification program?
GlobalPlatform organizes the only TEE conference in the industry. The next event will
take place in Santa Clara,
California. It also carries out online and face to face training
on the TEE for TEE providers and application developers. Its ongoing engagement with
studios, streaming service providers, and relevant industry associations such as SCSA
and AACS LA enables it to educate significant industry players about its technology and
certification program. The GlobalPlatform TEE Certification Scheme, managed by its TEE
Security Evaluation Secretariat, enables vendors to confirm conformance of their TEE
products to the organization’s TEE Protection
Profile, through independent security evaluation. It also conducts ongoing outreach
through a variety of initiatives including this industry interview.
Where should interested parties go if they want to learn more, or get
directly involved in GlobalPlatform’s efforts?
Any members that are interested in participating in this work can find out more on
the member website. Any non-
member that would like to get involved in the association's TEE discussions and Premium
Content Task Force should visit the membership pages.