Botswana readies for Google Streetview
GOVERNMENT| Feb. 28, 2012, 5 p.m.
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
Following meetings by a government stakeholder’s task team in March 2011 to vet Google’s request to expand its Streetview service to Botswana, the country is set to be the second country in Africa to have Google Streetview.
Jeff Ramsay, the government of Botswana spokesperson told a media briefing that all was in place to get the project off the ground. “This event has been set up as an opportunity for you to directly interact with Google about their project. In this context BGCIS, together with our friends at Hotwire, is acting as a communications facilitator,” said Ramsay.
He explained that; in this project, “Government's role goes further as a regulator, monitor as well as potential facilitator of the project.”
“Google Streetview is of course a private company initiative; this should not be misconstrued as a Government Project. In this respect Google has been in discussions with Government Stakeholders for just over a year now.
In March 2011 a representative task team of Government Stakeholders was established to vet Google's request to expand its Streetview service to Botswana. While Google Streetview is now available in many countries - especially in Europe, North and South America, East Asia, Russia and in our own region - that is Africa - it is currently confined to the Republic of South Africa,” Ramsay said.
Should the project go ahead, Botswana would thus be the second country on the continent to be served by Streetview.
He continued that, “from the beginning of our own consultations, we have been well aware of both the potential advantages and risks of allowing Streetview to proceed in our country.
The application has obvious potential benefits as a tool for marketing our country, more especially our tourism sector and associated services. It also has additional benefits of allowing Batswana as well as outsiders view online some of our public places. As such it can become a valuable educational as well as marketing tool.”
He went on to say that the government was wary about the side effects of bringing Google Streetview into the country. “We have not been unmindful, however, of concerns about the application. In this respect we have investigated Google Streetview's international track record as well as considered it potential risks to our own country.
In this context it was only in August of last year that we were able to give conditional consent for the initiative. This consent was subject to various enforceable assurances with respect to protecting public privacy and security concerns as part of an overall implementation plan.”
Ramsay assured the press that although the implementation plan was still in its infancy, they have a basic understating of what Google’s intentions were. “Here I wish to emphasise that the implementation plan has not as yet been finalized, although we have a basic understanding of its necessary components, which must, among other things, include:
. That filming restricted to public places unless permission from private owners has been obtained.
. That there shall be no filming of restricted areas, which shall be determined by responsible authorities. In this respect we shall exercise final say on what can be viewed.
. That there be measure in place to protect of individual identities- Dr. Taylor I trust will go into some of the details of how this can be implemented to insure for example that faces and licence plates are blurred.
. That Copyright shall be upheld where applicable along with all other Laws of Botswana.
. That there shall be a proactive campaign of public awareness on the part of Batswana.
The latter prerequisite is what brings us together here today, as a beginning because we appreciate the fact that building necessary awareness is a process and not just an event.
MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS
E-Waste management workshop on the cardsThe Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has lined up a series of workshops this year one of them being the upcoming half day consultative workshop on Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Management in the Communications Sector. Read More
NIMC moves to accelerate issue of e-ID cardsNigeria’s National Identity Management Commission has concluded its International Vendors’ Summit aimed at ensuring that citizens who have enrolled for their National Identification Number get their National e-ID Cards on time. Read More
NCS blames shoddy preparations for neglect of IT in electionThe Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has blamed tardiness in project management, and challenges in logistics and security, for neglect of ICT by the government and the electoral umpires. Read More
Rwanda’s ICT private sector strengthens commercial ties with IsraelIn an attempt to fast track growth of the sector and the capacity of the players in the ICT sector, every year the Rwanda’s ICT Chamber chooses priority countries to visit to strengthen business ties and to study the global best practices in business, innovation, workforce development and to ... Read More
Senegal prepares national plan to protect children onlineSenegal is taking action to ensure that its children are protected online and do not become victims of harmful content, cybercrime, bullying and other criminal offences perpetrated by syndicates on the internet. Read More
Ivory Coast moves to close digital divideThe government of Ivory Coast has launched a project to help half a million families own IT equipment and connect to the internet in the next three years. Read More
Mabeo blames cable thieves for erratic ICT servicesBotswana’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Tshenolo Mabeo, has pointed to power failure, vandalism and theft of copper and fibre cables as the main contributors to disruptions in ICT services. Read More
Mascom turns 1717TH February 2015 is the 17th birthday of Mascom, the oldest private mobile telecommunications company in Botswana. Read More
Botswana MPs want live transmission of debatesBotswana Members of Parliament (MPs) have made repeated call for the parliamentary debates to be beamed live each time they are in session. A recent parliamentary seating witnessed a cacophony of MPs reiterating the calls for their debates to get to people in real-time. Read More
FEATURED STORYMalawi Govt denies clinging to ‘Cashgate’ software
The Malawi Government will not exclude the software brand that has been in use for the country’s Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS), but it has rejected reports implying that it is ‘clinging’ to the old system.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya’s digital TV battle hots up
Kenya’s journey to Digital TV broadcasting took a new turn this week, when the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) accused three local media firms of intent to disrupt the process.