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Exclusive: Drones used by police over protesting farmers were not authorised to fly

You're reading it here first: The drones the police flew over farmers protesting against the recently enacted farm laws were illegal — their use was never authorised by the Civil Aviation Ministry, or the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), both entities which regulate drone use in the country, RTIs filed by MediaNama revealed. It’s a worrying example of the amount of discretion available to on-ground police personnel — especially when it’s about using tech to carry out mass surveillance.  As the protests against the farm laws broke out in November last year, and as farmers started their march towards Delhi, the police had deployed drones to constantly monitor the situation. Both Delhi and Haryana Police were present at the protests. It isn't clear which police force deployed these drones. We have reached out to both departments for more details. Multiple people reporting from the ground had shared visuals of these drones:  https://twitter.com/Supriya23bh/status/1331803694619271169 #WATCH Drone camera deployed for security surveillance at Delhi-Faridabad (Haryana) border, in view of farmers' 'Delhi Chalo' protest march pic.twitter.com/gfoCTinFIe — ANI (@ANI) November 26, 2020 The police’s arbitrary drone flights We filed the RTI in December, with the Civil Aviation Ministry, and the DGCA, asking for a list of all the organisations they had allowed to fly drones between October and December 2020, along with a copy of the authorisation letters issued to these organisations.  In response to the RTI, the Civil Aviation Ministry said it had exempted the following organisations to deploy drones during that…

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