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
Govt confirms NATCOM’s $252m Nitel/Mtel purchaseThe Federal Government of Nigeria has confirmed the sale of former state-run but now moribund telco, the Nigerian Telecommunication (Nitel) and its mobile arm, Mtel to NATCOM Consortium for $252 million. Read More
Angola takes science and technology roadshow to schoolsAngola’s Minister of Science and Technology has hailed a programme carried out this year to increase school learners’ understanding of science, technology and innovation. Read More
Senegal to issue smart ID, voter’s cardsThe government of Senegal is planning to issue new smart ID documents and voter’s cards, a project it said will strengthen the administration and fight identity theft. Read More
MTN, Orange, Cameroon govt launch Mobile Tax serviceThe Cameroonian government has launched a new tax service called Mobile Tax, in association with mobile operators MTN and Orange. Read More
BTCL IPO date reset againThe embattled BTCL IPO launch date has not seen the last of its changes yet. Read More
Botswana tops Africa Prosperity ReportBotswana tops the 2014 Africa Prosperity Report, as the continent enjoys unprecedented economic upturn, but Africa faces new challenges in gender gap and personal freedom. Read More
Mali Digital Plan 2020 to reorganise economyThe coordinator of Mali’s proposed ICT development strategy believes digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise people’s lifestyle and working relationships, boost culture and improve education, among others. Read More
Nigeria lures broadband investors with incentivesNigeria has highlighted opportunities and incentives for would-be investors, on the sidelines of ITU Telecom World. Read More
Senegal, World Bank launch mobile survey on living conditionsA household survey called A l’écoute du Sénégal ("Listening to Senegal") was launched late last week in this West African nation by the Senegalese government in association with the World Bank. Read More
FEATURED STORYPWC: Optimism abounds but a bumpy journey ahead for some
PwC’s ‘Capital Projects & infrastructure in East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa,’ report says infrastructure spend in the region is projected to reach $180bn per annum by 2025.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAfrica lags on digital migration
Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.