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  • Some people have already been convicted and caned
  • DISS has asked Facebook to shut down certain accounts
  • But Facebook will not breach people’s confidentiality

LETLHOGILE MPUANG

Botswana’s law enforcement agencies have begun a silent operation that is targeting cyberspace and social media abusers, The Botswana Gazette has established.

This publication is informed that a task force’ comprising of members of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) and the Cyber Crime Unit of Botswana Police Services (BPS) have launched an operation that aims to curb illicit use of the Internet and social media platforms around the country.

A number of people have already been arrested and brought before the courts in connections with such crimes. Sources close to the operation say some perpetrators have already been caned in corporal punishment while some are currently on remand.

Reached for comment, the Public Relations Officer of BPS, Superintendent Dipheko Motube, told The Botswana Gazette that they have been concerned by growing abuse of the Internet and social media, hence formation of a unit that dedicated to pursue abusers of cyberspace and prosecute offenders.

“Yes, it is true that some people have been arrested and some brought before the courts for commission of such crimes,” Motube said. “We have a unit which is sanctioned by the Cyber Crime and Computer Related Crimes Act of 2008 that is persuing these people.”

Those at variance with this law are liable to a fine not exceeding P20 000, imprisonment for one year or both. Information reaching this publication is that most of the perpetrators are politically frustrated individuals venting out.

The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service is weighing in on this as well. Its director General Peter Magosi has told The Botswana Gazette that Facebook has been requested to shut down a number of accounts, including some appearing to be pseudo accounts.

According to Magosi, Facebook and the Botswana Government enjoy a healthy working relationship in which Facebook is “more than helpful”. However, he noted that Facebook is firm in its policy of preventing access to citizens’ private and confidential information by law enforcement agencies.

In November in last year, a Kasane teenager was charged with a likening the First Lady Neo Masisi to a comedian called William Motsetserepa. The teen, 19-year old Moniwe Nicholas Kamwi, was charged with use of offensive electronic communication contrary to Section 18 of the Cyber Crime and Computer Related Crimes Act of 2008.

Last week, the spokesperson of the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), Justice Motlhabani, was questioned by police after he shared a Facebook post containing “sensitive information.” The post alleged that some DISS agents were under orders of former president Ian Khama and former spy chief Issac Kgosi to assassinate Detective Jako Hubona of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

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