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The curious case of Indian police’s attitude towards drones

While residents in Chennai and Lucknow remain under constant surveillance, Odisha police has arrested a Youtuber for a drone-shot video of the Jagannath temple

Law enforcement agencies appear to be taking privacy safeguards seriously – of the Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha at least. So much so that officers arrested a Kolkata-based YouTuber for flying a drone over the temple without permission, Odisha Bytes reported on January 18, 2023. According to the police, YouTuber Animesh Chakraborty’s move to fly a drone with a high-definition camera came to light after he uploaded a nearly six-minute video covering aerial views of the temple on social media. A police team from Odisha then arrested Chakraborty from Barrackpore in Kolkata. The team from Puri Police led by City DSP KK Hariprasad had been tracking his movements for five days before arresting him. Meanwhile, the YouTuber thanked he Odisha Police in his Facebook post highlighting the video. YouTuber apologises for ‘unintentional’ offence: Chakraborty apologised for taking a video of the temple without permission and said that it was “unintentional.” In a YouTube post, he said he was unaware about the temple being a ‘no-fly zone’ and had very little time to take the video. Why it matters: It’s interesting that both the Puri and Kolkata police have gone to such lengths to protect the rights of a temple because police seldom seem to extend the same sentiment for people’s digital rights. For example, a drone surveillance to record the daily activities of city residents seems like a much more severe instance of rights violations. Yet, in Lucknow, the concept was not only allowed but built into the Safe City…

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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.

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