Law enforcement agencies should not be allowed to use drones for surveillance, digital rights group Internet Freedom Foundation said in its recommendations to the draft drone rules. It also recommended prohibiting the integration of facial recognition technology with drones for surveillance purposes. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had released draft drone rules last month and has invited comments to it until July 10. The rules are an effort to form dedicated regulation around drone usage, as they are currently regulated as part of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), enacted in December 2018, under the Aircraft Act. IFF’s recommendations come in the wake of several law enforcement agencies using drones to surveil people. Notably, the Delhi Police had used the machines for surveillance during the riots that broke out in Delhi earlier this year, and during the national capital’s assembly elections. Problematically, the Delhi Police hired these drones from the open market, which, as we had earlier pointed out, means that the technical capability of these drones, and the companies supplying them remain unknown. Before that, the Delhi Police had also used drones to photograph people protesting against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. Several law enforcement agencies including in Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab, Kerala and Telangana also used drones to enforce COVID-related lockdowns. Other recommendations by IFF The current draft says that drones should be used in a way that they don’t infringe on the privacy of an individual or property. However, IFF noted that this provision will not be enough to ensure privacy.…
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