#Weatherbill - weather.co.za presentation for SA parliament

 News & Politics

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1. Weather.co.za and the #weatherbill Why it threatens competition and international treaties Randolf Jorberg from weather.co.za Mail: [email_address] Cell:…
  • 1. Weather.co.za and the #weatherbill Why it threatens competition and international treaties Randolf Jorberg from weather.co.za Mail: [email_address] Cell: +27-79-7301010 Twitter: @randolfSA Blog: http://randolf.jorberg.com
  • 2. <ul><li>Fact: they are a real (however rare) problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Claim: this problem can’t be fixed by legislation, as hoaxes come out of anonymity. </li></ul><ul><li>Solution: better information, not prosecution! </li></ul>Randolf Jorberg from weather.co.za on the #weatherbill and it’s monopolistic tendencies Mail: randolf@weather.co.za | Twitter: @randolfSA
  • 3. <ul><li>The founding SAWS act of 2001 obliges SAWS to the World Meteorological Organization Resolution 40 that: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Urges Members to: (1) Strengthen their commitment to the free and unrestricted exchange of meteorological and related data and products; (2) Increase the volume of data and products exchanged to meet the needs of WMO Programmes;” </li></ul><ul><li>and specially states in Annex 3 &quot;The purpose of these guidelines is to further improve the relationship between NMSs and the commercial sector. The development of the exchange of meteorological and related information depends greatly upon sound, fair, transparent, and stable relations between these two sectors.” </li></ul><ul><li>This bill clearly does NOT help fair relations between SAWS and private competition! </li></ul>Randolf Jorberg from weather.co.za on the #weatherbill and it’s monopolistic tendencies Mail: randolf@weather.co.za | Twitter: @randolfSA
  • 4. <ul><ul><li>South Africas ‘authoritative’ weather site www.weathersa.co.za isn’t operated by SAWS, but by private company Intelligence Systems (Pty) Ltd that is part of the Future Foresight Group (Pty) Ltd that brags on their homepage: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ In 2008 FF rebuilt the SA Weather Service website (SA's second-most traficked web site) as the precursor to commercialising the Weather Service. After a January launch, Weather Intelligence Solutions became cash-flow positive in mid-2009, and will become a substantial business over the next 3 years. Building on SAWS strong technical competence, we have developed a wide range of new products geared as industry, disaster management, and even golf courses and schools. After years of building businesses in nascent arenas, in high tech industries, we think this may be our most exciting project yet.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weather bill can be used by them to completely monopolize the market and shut out all private competition </li></ul>Randolf Jorberg from weather.co.za on the #weatherbill and it’s monopolistic tendencies Mail: randolf@weather.co.za | Twitter: @randolfSA
  • 5. Randolf Jorberg from weather.co.za on the #weatherbill and it’s monopolistic tendencies Mail: randolf@weather.co.za | Twitter: @randolfSA Source: www.weathersa.co.za FAQ in June 2009
  • 6. Randolf
  • 7. Stormchasing.co.za Submission <ul><li>Storm Chasing South Africa is a private non-profit website founded in 2009 as a personal expansion of a hobby and interest of mine, namely severe weather. I provide articles based on my opinion of what the weather may be doing. […] The South African Weather Service does not issue these same kind of real time warnings which are based on eyewitness accounts. </li></ul><ul><li>The SA Weather Service amendment bill includes the ban of the general public or other meteorological agencies issuing severe weather warnings, while I can see how this can easily be manipulated into sounding as though the bill will be doing the general favour to the public by removing hoax e-mails and fake stories about upcoming severe weather events, it in fact is just the monopolization of meteorological information. […] </li></ul><ul><li>I'd now like to bring attention to how the weather services are operated in other countries, for example the United States. In the United States of America, the government sponsored environmental websites such as www.weather.gov operate free of charge to the public, where their intention is the safety of U.S citizens. The U.S has a similar law in place as the one proposed in the South African Weather bill, but with one fundamental differences, while in the United States only the National Weather Service may issue official severe weather warnings, the general public and other weather agencies still have the legal right to issue their own warnings. </li></ul><ul><li>Another outlandish clause in the bill is that it will be illegal to spread &quot;false or misleading information about the South African Weather Service&quot;. That sentence sums up the amendment bill pretty accurately. It is a clear indication that it's not safety or integrity of information that the South African Weather Service is worried about, it's about becoming an untouchable monopoly that can be corrupt and flawed to any degree but at the same time an untouchable entity . […] </li></ul><ul><li>I see no evidence that this bill or the South African Weather Service are trying to increase safety and awareness, The reason for the bill, in all likeliness is to create a monopoly that would allow for a single channel of uninterrupted revenue. If this bill were to be passed, it would mean that there would be no alternative for information to the general public, they would be forced to use the South African Weather Service. The South African Weather Service over the years has become increasingly profit orientated , something that contradicts the ideas of increasing safety among the public. For anyone who has been a frequent visitor to the South African Weather Service website, as I have, over the past 10 years, you would have seen the shift it took from being a source of information to a business model. The website has undergone several redesigns in the past 10 years, each redesign lending itself to easier income, while each redesign also limiting the amount of free information . As an official weather service whose responsibilities are to protect the public, I see no place for a business model - unless only those wealthy enough to afford the insane costs of membership are worth protection. </li></ul><ul><li>As I touched on earlier, I am no stranger to the annoying hoax e-mails that get passed along with the South African Weather Service logo on them, and I whole heartedly agree that it's something that must be handled and punished. But there is a huge gap between impersonating the South African Weather Service and forecasting severe weather unofficially […] I have faith that it will be as easy as it is to me to see the flaws and ludicrousy in this bill and the unwarranted censorship that it will enforce. </li></ul><ul><li>Bryn De Kocks (Founder of Storm Chasing South Africa) stormchasingsa @ gmail.com www.stormchasing.co.za </li></ul>
  • 8. Submission by News24 <ul><li>Submission by News24 to the Amendments to the SA Weather Service Bill </li></ul><ul><li>News24 strongly objects to some of the amendments proposed for the SA Weather Service Bill. </li></ul><ul><li>The 24.com network is the largest local online network and our weather section - http://weather.news24.com/ - is one of the largest providers of digital weather information in South Africa. </li></ul><ul><li>Our weather content provider – incidentally not WeatherSA - is used by a number of respected international news organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>The ability of News24 to timeously inform our users of the latest important weather information would be severely curtailed by the amendments proposed in the new Bill. </li></ul><ul><li>We refer in particular to section 30A that states […] </li></ul><ul><li>Furthermore this section clearly does not conform to section 16 of the South African Constitution ’ s Bill of Rights. […] </li></ul><ul><li>It is our contention that damage caused by so-called false weather warnings has been insignificant. </li></ul><ul><li>Weather information is not an exact science and the Bill ’ s contention that there is “ one single authoritative voice ” in this field is misleading and simply not true. </li></ul><ul><li>Competition in this field has improved the accuracy and investment into weather information worldwide. The proposed amendments to the Bill will have the opposite effect in South Africa with an institutionalised monopoly being created. </li></ul><ul><li>Jannie Momberg – News24 Editor </li></ul>
  • 9. Thank you for listening and stopping the weather monopoly! The #Weatherbill threatens competition & free speech! Randolf Jorberg from weather.co.za Mail: [email_address] Cell: +27-79-7301010 Twitter: @randolfSA Blog: http://randolf.jorberg.com
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