This is monumental news
Which has far ranging implication to other tech startups
Going beneath the law is one thing, but at some point you have to comply with regulations and if you are lapse in this respect you are going to come a foul of government policy.
This is what has happened to Uber
Don’t get me wrong, this feels like a local government taking the chance to make an example of one of the world’s most famous tech companies, but you have to remember Uber has hijacked cities, to an extent, by circumventing the natural bureaucracy typically needed to launch a service such as theres.
Uber have been punched in the face but customers have been knocked out
This is terrible news for consumers
The customer always loses. I understand and appreciate transport London’s basis for the rejection of Ubers license :
A lack of corporate responsibility in the following:
- It’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences
- It’s approach to how medical certificats are obtaines
- It’s approach to how enhanced disclosure and barring service checks are provided
- Its approach to explaining the use of Greyball in London, software that could be used to block regulatory bodies from gaining full access to the app and prevent official from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties
But I believe this detrimentally effects the safety of passengers far more than it helps ensure it
I have heard countless stories of women trying to get home on a nights out for black cab drivers to refuse to travel further east than a specific location.
To get home these women have to resort to getting in illegal unlicensed cabs who’s drivers have had no checks at all
It could be argued that since Uber conducts checks on most of its driver it is an improvement on none — but ultimately it is not good enough. The traceability and accountability of Uber drivers should something go wrong is also significant.
Women feel safer taking Uber than any of the alternatives and this has to count for something
The ‘anecdotal evidence’ of 1 sexual asault per week by non-criminal checked Uber drivers is outrageous. It is an abdication of duty to customers in the most disgusting way possible.
That is why this decision has been made
But consumer outrage will make sure it is changed back
And that is what these peer to peer companies must count on
Airbnb is likely to face the same problem in cities as well
Though they have been less auspicious in their flaunting on the rules for incumbent companies.
Today is a monumental day for tech companies who’s initial model of disruption involves asking for forgiveness having broken the law instead of asking for permission