Uber in more bother with regulators as California fines it $7.6M

uber in more regulator bother as california fines it 7 6m white car
Uber’s been hit with a $7.6 million fine by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for failing to report data on its drivers back in 2014.

The ride-hailing company told the LA Times it intends to pay the fine but will still appeal the decision. Not paying would’ve resulted in its service being suspended in its home state of California.

The CPUC accused Uber of withholding data on:

  • how many times customers requested accessible vehicles and how often the company provided one,
  • the number of requested and accepted rides broken down by zip code, and
  • the number and cause of driver-related incidents.

Following a related court hearing last year, Uber complained that providing more detailed information about its app-based service risked “compromising the privacy of individual riders as well as driver-partners.” It added that the CPUC’s requests were “beyond the remit of the commission and will not improve public safety.”

The commission insists that submission of driver data is important for determining if Uber – as well as regular taxi firms who already observe the rule – is properly serving passengers. Uber rival Lyft, the LA Times points out, has been complying with the regulation, while Uber has also started supplying the requested data.

Coming up against regulators is par for the course for Uber. The service comes under scrutiny pretty much everywhere it sets up, with many disputes focusing on whether the company should face the same regulations as the traditional taxi industry.

Class-action concern

San Francisco-based Uber also has another fight on its hands in its home state after a judge last September granted class-action status to a lawsuit calling for the company to recognize its drivers as full-fledged employees rather than as independent contractors as it currently does.

While the original claim was brought by just three Uber drivers, the acquired class-action status means the suit could cover around 160,000 California drivers.

Classifying its drivers as independent contractors has allowed the company to grow at speed. As things stand, Uber doesn’t need to concern itself with things like Social Security, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation for its drivers – or pay for vehicle running costs – a system that  allows it to save large amounts of money for subsequent investment.

Emerging Tech

Singapore uses its smart city tech to help citizens cut through the red tape

Like many governments, Singapore’s puts citizens through plenty of red tape. But as part of its smart-city initiatives, the government is using tech to remove layers of bureaucracy.
Smart Home

Consumer groups call out retailers in a bid for better IoT security

Consumer groups posted a "Dear retailer" letter on February 12 that called out Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and Target, shaming the companies for selling insecure smart home devices.
Smart Home

Google Home and Amazon Alexa are asking smart home device makers for user info

Google and Amazon want to establish a "continuous flow" of information between their servers and your smart home devices, but companies like Logitech have begun to speak out for user privacy.

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Amazon slashes prices on Fitbit Versa smartwatches for Presidents’ Day

Amazon is offering a solid $30 discount on this great fitness tracking smartwatch right now. So if you're looking for a wearable that can help you track steps, sleep, and activity, now is a great time to pick one up for less.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Be careful who you bokeh, jokes Apple’s latest iPhone ad

With iPhone sales under pressure, you'd think there wouldn't be much to laugh about at Apple HQ. But the company has seen fit to inject some humor into its latest handset ad, which highlights the camera's Depth Control feature.

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.

The best Honor View 20 cases to keep your midrange beauty intact

With power to rival flagships, great looks, and a stunning camera, the Honor View 20 is an excellent phone -- but it still needs protection from hazards. Here are some of the best Honor View 20 cases.

Samsung's Unpacked draws near. Here's what we know about the Galaxy S10 so far

It won't be long now. With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.

Gorilla Glass 6 will cover the Xiaomi Mi 9's AMOLED screen

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.

Flip from portrait to landscape as we reveal how to rotate a video on iPhone

If you've accidentally shot a video in portrait orientation and you want to flip to landscape, then this is the guide for you. We'll explain how to use iMovie to rotate a video on your iPhone or iPad for free and suggest alternative apps.

The 2019 iPhone could put a charge into your other Apple gadgets

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.

5G is the swift kick VR and AR gaming needs to come to fruition

There's a lot of hype surrounding augmented reality and virtual reality, but is it really the next big thing? We take a look at where the new mediums stand, as well as how 5G is poised to help them break into the mainstream.