The Google online stalking facility ÔÇô Google street View ÔÇô which has become the bane of worldwide controversy is to launch in Botswana in a few weeks.
For months, a debate has stewed throughout the world about whether Google’s Street View service violates privacy by providing images of homes and front yards across in countries where they operate. The privacy debate escalated into investigations against Google in countries like Britain, France, Australia, Spain, Southern Korea and Italy after it emerged that Google had been Hoovering up millions of passwords and email addresses from home and company computers in host countries.
Its fleet of Street View vehicles will be filming homes and front yards in Gaborone, Francistown and the country’s world-famous tourist and wildlife destinations. These include Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans, Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The images will then be posted on the internet. Google, which says it will start collecting data in Botswana in the coming weeks, says the collecting, processing and stitching together of data can take several months. They will be made available at a later date.
The privacy controversy surrounding the Google Street View service has however not been helped by information revealing that the Google Street View cars, which are bristling with high-tech equipment, have also been tapping into home Wi-Fi networks and rummaging through people’s PCs and laptops. Following the revelations, the British Information Commissioner launched an investigation into what was described as an ‘astonishing’ invasion of privacy.”
France also launched an investigation into Google and its working practices after the search engine captured private Wi-Fi data via its Street View cars. South Korean police also raided Google offices to confiscate Google Street View data to determine if Google had broken the law with the data and types of data it has collected through its street view vehicles
This was after it emerged that the vehicles collecting data for Google Street View were also capturing information from wireless Internet routers such as owned by companies and individuals. The capturing of that data was accidental, says Google, and caused by left-over experimental code in the data collection routines. Google claims that the data was gathered by mistake after a programmer added some rogue code that collected information from unsecured home Wi-Fi networks.
Google Street View announced this week that it is expanding in South Africa and Botswana. Street View is a feature of Google Maps available in more than 30 countries worldwide. Adding another dimension to Google Maps, with 360 degree street-level images taken by the Google cars and trikes, Google users are able to view and navigate through streets, wine estates, vineyards, historic buildings and gardens.
“We are delighted to be updating Street View with more Cape winelands imagery and look forward to bringing our cutting-edge Street View technology to Botswana,” said Julie Taylor, Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Google, Sub-Saharan Africa.
Google will be collecting images for Google Street View of Botswana in the coming weeks. Using Chrevolet Captiva models they will drive around the country capturing a variety of places, including Gaborone, Francistown and the country’s world-famous tourist and wildlife destinations.
These include Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans, Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The collecting, processing and stitching together of data can take several months. They will be made available at a later date.
“In addition to Street View being useful to internet users and businesses in Botswana, we also want to help Botswana showcase its extraordinary national parks and wildlife destinations to the rest of the world,” said Taylor.