wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

More steps towards a surveillance state? Karnataka police to learn drone piloting for ‘law and order’

This is yet another instance of police in India seeking deployment of advanced technologies for surveillance

What’s the news: The Karnataka police on August 29 inaugurated two weeks of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV/drone) training programme for 27 officers and staff of western zone districts.

“Karnataka state is the first in the country to undertake this training for police officers, and for the first time in the state, a team of experts from the Internal Security Department, Bangalore, is imparting training to the officer personnel of the western zone district,” said a press release by the police department.

Why it matters: While the state police may claim to be the first to impart such training to its police,  law enforcements in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Telangana and other states already use drones. Experts have criticised the use of such surveillance technologies by the police, citing privacy issues. In the absence of data and privacy protection laws, the use of drones and similar equipment by police points to an emerging ‘surveillance state.’

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

FREE READ of the day by MediaNama: Click here to sign-up for our free-read of the day newsletter delivered daily before 9 AM in your inbox.

Karnataka police to learn about drones: Officers from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Chikkamagaluru districts and will be participating in the training inaugurated by Devjyoti Ray, IPS, IGP West Zone. Personnel will be trained on the use of UAV/drone and its accessories and drone operation for maintenance of law and order regarding drone, its types and related legalities.

What is worth considering is the manner in which the drones will be operated for the sake of “law and order.” In January 2021, MediaNama’s exclusive report revealed that the Delhi police used drones to survey farmers protesting at city borders without the authorisation of the Civil Aviation Ministry or the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which regulate drone use.

Similarly, in 2020, Kerala and Telangana governments deployed drones across several districts to monitor Covid-19 violations. MediaNama had reported that there wasn’t much clarity on how the police ensured that drone operators deleted recorded footage from their end. Still, 160-170 people were arrested within three days for violating norms at the time.

Such instances highlight how on-ground police officers enjoy a lot of discretion in using technologies to carry out mass surveillance.

In Uttar Pradesh (UP), the government introduced the Lucknow Safe City Project last year wherein it wanted to deploy drones to survey terraces and rooftops of residents. Like with the Karnataka police’s reasoning for the training programme, the UP government said the drones will help “combat crimes against women.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

However, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi at the time argued that using drones for surveillance is “unconstitutional” because it violates privacy. He demanded that if such equipment is used for security, then a data protection law should be brought in place first. Like many advocates of privacy, he argued that the data from the drones can be used to ‘curtail his fundamental rights.’

Despite these persisting concerns, the Karnataka event continues with officers learning how to fly drones in ‘sensitive’ areas, forested hills and hilly areas during night time. The programme is estimated to conclude in the second week of September.

This post is released under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license. Please feel free to republish on your site, with attribution and a link. Adaptation and rewriting, though allowed, should be true to the original.

Also Read:

Written By

I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



India's smartphone operating system BharOS has received much buzz in the media lately, but does it really merit this attention?


After using the Mapples app as his default navigation app for a week, Sarvesh draws a comparison between Google Maps and Mapples


In the case of the ‘deemed consent' provision in the draft data protection law, brevity comes at the cost of clarity and user protection


The regulatory ambivalence around an instrument so essential to facilitate data exchange – the CM framework – is disconcerting for several reasons.


The provisions around grievance redressal in the Data Protection Bill "stands to be dangerously sparse and nugatory on various counts."

You May Also Like


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ