In a new and worrisome set of developments, the tender issued by the UP government details what type of drones would be used, how they would work, and who will be surveilled. This is the second of a four-part series. You can read the other stories here. You are reading it here first: If you thought that the ambit of surveillance for the Lucknow Safe City Project would stop with the installation of facial recognition-equipped cameras and an artificial intelligence-based video analytics framework that would track you if you are in a 'shadow area', then you are wrong. As part of the project, the UP government is also looking to deploy drones in Lucknow with the intention of snooping over terraces and rooftops of Lucknow residents. This potentially privacy-invasive proposal is, on paper, an attempt by the UP government to combat crimes against women. These proposals are part of a publicly available tender that was floated for selecting a system integrator for the Lucknow Safe City Project. The tender says that 5 drones — 2 small drones and 3 micro-drones, will be deployed in the city. It would act as a last-mile connecting policing equipment for beat cops or emergency surveillance vans, “especially in crowded areas where ground movement is limited by congestion”, the tender said. Why it matters: Essentially, these proposals mark the UP government's plans of transforming Lucknow into a police city (as an extension of a Police State). The usage of drones is part of a larger surveillance…
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