The President of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)Botswana, Ookeditse Kamau said there is lack of compliance of ICT Regulations by organizations in Botswana and this is evidenced by electronic communications messages which do not have an opt out option.
“The lack of compliance is seen even on basic requirements such as unsolicited online marketing outlined in the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2014 that requires marketers to give consumers an opt out option at the end of each sms or email sent. We receive marketing smses and emails from established organisations without opt out options.” Kamau said, adding that another example where there is lack of interest is on the Electronic Records and Evidence Act of 2014.
Support for harmonisation of the ICT policies in Sub-Saharan Africa (HIPSSA) project was launched in 2008. The project recommended three model laws referred to as SADC model laws to enhance the use of ICT while protecting consumers and corporates. A decade later the last of the three laws namely the Data Protection Act of 2017 was enacted in August 2018.The Act’s purpose was to enhance reliability of information processed by certifying the systems.
Kamau pointed out that it can be argued that Botswana has made progress in regulating the use of ICT from a legislation point of view. “To date there is no certified system in Botswana in accordance with this Act. The Act is not mandatory but was meant to give systems some value similar to that of “ISO”. The fact that we don’t see organisations showing interest in certifying their systems show the infant maturity level in the ICT sector.” she said.
Kamau argued that the biggest challenge is how the country enforces implementation and monitoring compliance in organisations. “Who is failing to bring ICT regulations to the boardrooms? As long as there is limited implementation of ICT legislations and or regulations we will continue to see adoption of unsecured systems and violation of consumer rights,” pointed Kamau.
Meanwhile, Public Telecommunications Company Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) Chairperson, Lorato Boakgomo-Ntakhwana recently stated that advances in technology are impacting the ICT sector and continues to impact the market structure and competition dynamics. “The regulatory environment has to adapt and adopt to the landscape to enable a conducive environment for all operators to do business,” said Boakgomo-Ntakhwana
She said there is pressure for operators to reduce tariffs and they continue to advocate for a regulatory framework, which helps to bring about efficiencies that will help in tariff reductions and product innovation and sustainability. “We therefore continue to keep an eye on regulatory developments and look for opportunities to contribute to changing the regulatory landscape. We do our utmost to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements and engage with all our regulatory bodies on a regular basis,” she said.
Botswana Communication Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) introduced ICT licensing framework in 2015 and the framework seeks to create an environment of unprecedented innovation and market growth in the areas of mobile telephony, broadband, electronic social media services and other ICT enabled services.
Recently, addressing participants during the 2018 ISACA Botswana annual conference, (ISACA) Tanzania, President Kenneth Wakata said greater reliance on e-commerce creates significant opportunities, but lack of security and trust remains a critical barrier to online transactions.
“An adequate and supportive legal environment is essential to create trust online and to secure electronic interactions between enterprises, consumers and public authorities. Again these laws and legislation embrace the principles of technology neutrality, non-discrimination of electronic communications and functional equivalence.But three main issues remain,” said Wakata.