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When Drones Become Peeping-toms
Privacy, trespass, technology, protection, reasonableness—how to balance all of these
 
Over the past two years, we have often talked of trespass over private property. The coconut tree story was one. The other was of a bullet flying through the air over another man’s land. Civil action or criminal intent, the theory is that a man’s home is his castle and none shall disturb his possession.
 
We have also heard of there being too many laws and more are being enacted. There are attempts to whittle some down but the additions seem to win the race. Why is it so?
Technology has a great part to play in this. It is said that, between the years 1700 and 1900, technology doubled from what it was in previous history. In the next 100 years, it doubled again. Now, the doubling will be counted in years, not centuries. With this explosion of knowledge, comes more regulation. The prime example is the 2G, 3G and 4G laws; the encryption rigmarole; social media and the Internet are next.
 
How did tech-knowledge and trespass come to cross each other’s path? Drones. Those little helicopters that are making the news these days mainly in wars. The gadgets are now also used to deliver goods to remote, and not-so-remote, homes. Other than that, drones are effective for traffic as well as crowd control. 
 
Electronically controlled, either directly or by pre-programming, drones are used for a variety of sinister purposes, mainly spying. That is done by moving the drone over a designated area and controlling it from the base. The photos are taken in real time and transmitted back. Alternatively, the camera records the area below.
 
We now come across a legal question. Who owns the sky above your property? Is an airplane flying over it, violating your rights? The fact is that the air above you is your own, but flights are exempted from action. This seems a fair compromise. Except that drones, in America, are meant to fly under 400 feet. If they fly above that, they violate the airspace of aircrafts. They stay beneath the limit and fly over houses and homes and lawns and terraces and swimming pools. Fertile grounds for snooping. 
 
Peeping is not new. Sometime back, a man in Pune installed a CCTV, a closed circuit camera, in his bathroom. He also let the house out to girls. One such guest noticed the device and complained. Does the ‘Castle Doctrine’ hold?
 
You be the judge. 
 
Cannot a man do what he wants in his own home? Can he not spy on his guests? Decency, not voyeurism, the court said, and the man was punished. Very similar to our earliest story about the young thief being shot by a booby-trapped gun. And the one about dangerous dogs. The law says that under such circumstances, one needs to post a notice. ‘THIS SHOP IS BOOBY-TRAPPED’; BEWARE OF DOGS’; ‘THIS BATHROOM HAS…’!!!!
 
Back to the drones. While our laws in India do not have drone problems and illegal snooping is punished, drones have become a big headache in the US. Two of them have already been shot down, Americans being a gun-packing society. Both shooters have been arrested. The reasons given are: the shooters did not first try to find less violent ways to shoo away the drones; they did not try to find out if there was an emergency. Both had confessed to shooting the drones down, citing privacy problems, especially with daughters being targeted. 
 
Privacy, trespass, technology, protection, reasonableness. Life is getting more complicated by the day. Laws, that date back ages, could not have foreseen these situations. Intrusion into one’s privacy is a touchy issue and most societies frown on it. In some Mid-East countries, using a pair of binoculars, without specific reason, is an invitation to prison. Spy cameras in space are so accurate that they boast of reading the licence plate on a car. If aimed at your garage, within your compound, it should constitute an offence.
 
Or would it?
 

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SEBI directs Shine India Infra Project not to mobilise fresh funds from investors

The company was engaged in fund mobilising activity from the public through offer of RPS without complying with the relevant provisions of the Companies Act. 1956 and provisions of the SEBI (Issue and Listing of Debt Securities) Regulations, 2008, says a SEBI Order on Shine India Infra Project

 

Market regulator SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India) passed an interim order directing Shine India Infra Project Limited (SIIPL) and its directors not to mobilise fresh funds from investors. According to the SEBI Order, SIIPL and its Directors, viz. Sajahan Midya, Nasiruddin SK and Selim Mohammed SK are prohibited from issuing prospectus or any offer document or issue advertisement for soliciting money from the public for the issue of securities.
 
Also, SIIPL and its directors, are restrained from accessing the securities market for any purpose.
 
The SEBI Order has also asked for a strict accounting of the funds already collected and has directed the directors not to dispose of these funds.
 
The company was engaged in fund mobilising activity from the public through offer of Redeemable Preference Shares (RPS) without complying with the relevant provisions of the Companies Act 1956 and provisions of the SEBI (Issue and Listing of Debt Securities) Regulations, 2008.
 
Hence, SEBI feels that here is no other alternative but  to  take  recourse  through  an  interim  action  against  SIIPL  and  its  directors, for preventing that company from further carrying on with its fund mobilising activity under the Offer of Redeemable Preference Shares.
 
The SEBI Order continues with a show-cause notice to the company and its directors as follows:
 
“The prima facie observations contained in the Order are made on the basis of the material available   on   record i.e.  correspondences   exchanged   between   SEBI   and   SIIPL, complaints received by SEBI and information obtained from the MCA 21 Portal. In  this  context,  SIIPL  and  its  Directors  are  required  to  show cause as to why suitable directions/prohibitions under Sections 11(1), 11(4), 11A and 11B of  the  SEBI  Act  read  with  Section  73(2)  of  the  Companies  Act,  1956,  including  the following, should not be taken/imposed against them:
 
i. Directing  them  jointly  and  severally  to  refund  money  collected  through  the Offer  of Redeemable Preference Shares along with interest, if any, promised to investors therein;
 
ii. Directing them not to issue prospectus or any offer document or issue advertisement 
for  soliciting  money  from  the  public  for  the  issue  of  securities for an appropriate period;
 
iii. Directing them to refrain from accessing the securities market and prohibiting them from buying, selling or otherwise dealing in securities for an appropriate period.”
 
The SEBI Order allows a personal hearing by saying, “SIIPL and its directors, may, within 21 days from the date of receipt of this Order, file their replies, to this Order and may also indicate whether they desire to avail themselves an opportunity of personal hearing.”
 
Finally, the SEBI Order concludes by saying, “This Order is without prejudice to the right of SEBI to take any other action that may be initiated against SIIPL and its directors, in accordance with law.”
 

 

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COMMENTS

Vaibhav Dhoka

1 year ago

SEBI The watchdog should give data about orders passed and their execution and amount of investors money paid back.SEBI just boast itself by passing such orders as shedding crocodile tears that it stands for investors safety.

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