Botswana readies for Google Streetview

GOVERNMENT

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Botswana readies for Google Streetview

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.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

Ghana’s Vice President opens MOBEX15 in Accra

The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has officially opened the first Africa Mobile and ICT Expo dubbed #MOBEX15 in Accra.  Read More

Experts seek e-governance to check graft

ICT experts have urged the adoption of electronic or e-government at all levels to prevent the stealing of public funds. Read More

Khama points to ICT for drop in tourist numbers

Botswana’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, said the tourist numbers into the country continue to plummet largely because of poor ICT development in that sector as well as unreliable air service.  Read More

Botswana Ministry introduces e-nnovation

Botswana’s Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) is developing ways of getting the local youth to chart the technology waters by coming up with programmes that allow the them to be innovative for the benefit of the nation.    Read More

Ghana to build largest data centre in West Africa

The Ghana government, through the Ministry of Communications, is currently constructing what it believes will be the largest data centre within the West African sub region.  Read More

‘Why NCC must intercept your phone calls’

Nigeria’s telecom sector regulator, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) said it is seeking legal backing to intercept the calls of subscribers to protect them and ensure the security of the nation. Read More

Safaricom dominance under discussion in Parliament

A bill aimed at levelling Kenya’s telecommunications sector by declaring leading operator, Safaricom, as dominant in the industry, is now in Kenya’s parliament. Read More

KRA marks 2 millionth iTax registration

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), has sealed a major milestone in its organisational transformation journey, with the registration of its 2millionth iTax client. Read More

CBN extends BVN enrolment

The Central Bank of Nigeria has extended the timeline for the enrolment for the national Bank Verification Number (BVN).   Read More

NITA gets a new boss

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama has appointed a 35 year old computer scientist, George Atta-Boateng, as Acting Director General of the National Information and Technology Agency. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika

FEATURED STORY

Batswana dragging feet in digital migration Batswana dragging feet in digital migration

More than a month after the deadline for the digital migration from analogue television, few people have shown any pronounced enthusiasm in entering the new digital TV realm. 

IN DEPTH

As curtain falls on MDGs, what next?As curtain falls on MDGs, what next?

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, speaks to Biztechafrica about setting smart targets.

COMPANY NEWS

MTN Business App of the Year submissions closed

Entries for the annual MTN Business App of the Year Awards taking place on 13 August in Johannesburg have closed, and an expert panel of judges that is adjudicating ...