Chile Taxi Drivers Protest Against Uber as Regulations Remain Murky

Chile Taxi Drivers Protest Against Uber as Regulations Remain Murky

Taxi drivers in Chile protested on Thursday against ride-hailing app Uber, as authorities indicated they were considering more regulatory oversight to deal with car-sharing services.

Blocking an avenue in downtown Santiago, the taxi drivers’ demonstration was the latest in a series around the globe against the service, which critics say is unsafe, skirts labor laws and depresses wages.

“I don’t have a problem that they work – we all have a right to earn money – but this has reduced our business a lot,” said taxi driver Jaime Poblete Soto, 30. “The (drop in customers) has become very obvious.”

On Wednesday, a similar anti-Uber protest took place in the Argentine city of Cordoba, and in late March four men torched an Uber vehicle in Nairobi, Kenya.

Massive Uber protests have also taken place in recent months in Brazil, Mexico, France and several other nations.

Uber Chile, which started in December 2014 and now has around 10,000 registered drivers, according to the company, has repeatedly called on national authorities to establish a clearer regulatory framework for ride-sharing apps.

As of now, the company said, drivers operate in a legal gray zone.

“What we do isn’t covered by current law, so we’ve asked for help in trying to find a way to regulate this, but we’ve been told ‘no,'” said Carlos Schaaf, chief executive of Uber Chile.

“But it’s something we continue discussing with lawmakers and local government.”

Transport Minister Andres Gomez-Lobos said that if a vehicle were caught carrying passengers for pay outside current rules it would be sanctioned.

However, he also said that Uber could be brought within Chile’s existing regulations if there is “broad agreement” in Congress.

Many Uber users, meanwhile, remain unapologetic about their use of the app.

“Many times you take a taxi to the same place, and sometimes it costs 1,000 pesos, sometimes 1,500, sometimes 2,000,” said Karen Salazar, a 25-year-old Uber user, referring to amounts between $1.50 and $3.00.

“So you don’t trust taxis… but Uber isn’t like that.”

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Apps, Uber, Uber App, Uber Taxi App

FBI move against Apple set an alarming precedent

Apple says to weaken the software for one case would cripple the software’s inbuilt encryption and privacy protection for all usersApple says to weaken the software for one case would cripple the software’s inbuilt encryption and privacy protection for all users

The end to the months-long, closely watched Apple v FBI standoff over a locked iPhone came with a whimper rather than a bang.

The now infamous phone belonged to Syed Farook, the gunman shot dead by authorities in San Bernardino, California last December during an attack in which Farook and his wife killed 14 people.

The FBI had wanted Apple to create a weakened version of its iPhone software to aid its attempts to unlock the phone. Apple, backed by both industry friends and rivals, had refused, stating that to weaken the software for one case would cripple the software’s inbuilt encryption and privacy protection for all users.

On Monday, the US government officially stood down the court case. Rumours had been floating about that some entity – believed to be a non-US company – had come forward with a method that would help the FBI crack the phone.

That seems to have been the case. The FBI said this week that it had accessed the data on the phone. And it withdrew from the case. The end.

Well, no. This case only ever represented an initial skirmish in a new, global battle over encryption. That is why this case was so important for Apple to defend.

Terrorist attack

That is also why the US justice department tried to represent it as less important than it really was.

“The San Bernardino case was not about trying to send a message or set a precedent; it was and is about fully investigating a terrorist attack,” FBI director James Comey wrote last week.

Utter nonsense.

The FBI chose to investigate that attack with demands on a company that would have set an alarming precedent and sent a firm message to businesses and citizens that no communication was guaranteed to be private and that businesses and citizens had no fundamental entitlement to privacy.

Why? Because – as the FBI knows full well – you just cannot have secret, limited-access backdoors by which some parties can gain access to communications and others are locked out.

Security does not work that way. Backdoors create fatal weaknesses because they rely on two impossible suppositions: that everyone with a key to the door is trustworthy and that the bad guys cannot s get hold of those digital skeleton keys that would unlock a jackpot of data.

Apple was criticised by some for standing up to the FBI because this was “the wrong case”, one which had all the elements to make public opinion side with the FBI: terrorists, shootings, deaths, horror.

However, those critics are wrong. For all those reasons, this was exactly the case on which Apple had to take a strong stand. The core issues – the right to use encryption, the difficult balance between privacy and security, the very definition here of “security” and understanding of whose “security” is at stake – are bedrock tensions in a societal debate. We cannot talk about security as if it is a separate issue from privacy.

That is why Apple was broadly supported by civil society groups internationally as well as the businesses that understand security in a digital world relies on unbroken strong encryption.

That governments and national leaders – particularly the US and UK – miss this point is not frustrating. It is shocking.

Encryption, which underlies virtually every business-to-business, business-to- government and business -to-citizen transaction and much of what any individual does online, is just too big to fail. And therefore too big to weaken.

If governments force the companies that offer encrypted products and services – products and services on which civil society as well as whole economies run – to weaken encryption, we move into a potentially more dangerous and dystopian place.

Strong encryption

Some wiser and better informed officials have tried to sound warnings about how much is at stake.

Two former US secretaries of Homeland Security (Michael Chertoff and William Lynn) and a former secretary of intelligence and navy admiral (Mike McConnell) wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post arguing that strong encryption, without backdoors, was crucial to security, for society and for the economy.

Weakening publicly available encryption would encourage black market, dark web products for criminals and terrorists and “could lead to a perverse outcome in which law-abiding organisations and individuals lack protected communications but malicious actors have them”, they wrote.

But I think it’s worse. Corporates may be pushed to operate more and more like nomadic nation states, moving to where they can offer the encrypted products and services businesses, other governments and individuals want.

Corporates themselves will move further beyond needed scrutiny in a world where some argue that they control so much of our data that they are already a form of virtual nation state.

A concerted battle over encryption – a resource needed by the many – will only strengthen their position.

Governments play a critical role in maintaining checks and balances on the power of corporates – and vice-versa – in an open, regulated and more dually scrutinised landscape. This should not be sacrificed in a misguided battle over encryption.


HC pulls up Delhi govt for inaction against school admission malpractices

Two bodies representing private schools questioned the powers of the Delhi government to issue notifications without approval of the Lt. Governor of Delhi. Photo: HT

Two bodies representing private schools questioned the powers of the Delhi government to issue notifications without approval of the Lt. Governor of Delhi. Photo: HT

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Friday asked the Delhi government why it had not investigated or taken any action against alleged malpractices by private schools in the admission process.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia presented the court with a sealed packet containing letters from parents who had written to him regarding malpractices in private schools under the garb of management quota.

“Why did the Delhi government not take any action or investigate the claims of these letters on its own if it is in possession of such information? No court has stopped you from doing so,” Justice Manmohan said.

The court was told by the Delhi government that putting an end to practices like demands for capitation fees under management quota required a joint effort by the government and private institutions.

Stating that the management quota had become a racket, Guru Krishna Kumar, counsel for the Delhi government, said, “Several criteria being followed by private schools are not fair, reasonable and transparent. It is our duty to step in and regulate if there is misuse and ensure that the procedure being adopted is fair.”

“Various aspects of having quotas for admissions to private schools have been discussed by the courts but the legal rationale behind the validity of the same has not been discussed under any previous judgment,” Kumar told the court.

In a bid to make the admission process of private schools transparent, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on 6 January scrapped a total of 62 criteria including management quota for admission. This decision came in the midst of admission process for nurseries.

Two bodies representing private schools questioned the powers of the Delhi government to issue the notification without approval of the Lt. Governor of Delhi and called such action unconstitutional.

Seeking a stay on the Delhi government order, pleas by Forum for Protection of Quality Education For all and Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Schools, a body of more than 400 private unaided schools functioning in Delhi, moved the court on 15 January.

The court, to ensure that there is no confusion in the ongoing admission process, had held that parents would need to fill forms as per criteria already uploaded by schools but their scrutiny would be subject to the final outcome in the case.

The matter will be heard next on 1 February.