European Court of Justice ruling Uber as a Public Transportation Service is a game changing event
December 20, 2017 will be reminded as the date when the challenges of technological progress must meet the immunologic reaction of the old regulatory environment. The European Court of Justice, in a landmark rule decided that Uber is more than a technological platform, a transportation service that must be subject to regulation. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:62015CJ0434&from=EN
The question at glance shall be to what extent social cooperation, leading to shared economies should be subject to the regulation of the governments. Are we living in times where governments are becoming irrelevant and these reactions are the last stertors before they die?, or are we in front of a legitimate claim to regulate certain areas of activity in order to preserve the greater good?
It is interesting to observe that the case was initiated by a Taxi Association of Barcelona. In a way, the old economy conceived that in order to carry a person or goods from one place to another, you need to get a license from the government, because only the government can judge whether you are suitable to be trusted. Such license is certainly a market entry barrier that protects some players at the expense of the consumer, but that the system tells us that is a necessary evil because if the Government does not protect me, who will?
In the times of Big Data, the monopoly of reliability by governments has proven to be wrong. Evil people does not need a license to be neutralized or punished. Technology provides information necessary to administer checks and balances. For a given user of transportation services, it is easier to locate the wrongdoer using the application using Uber platform, than when using a taxi service (You need to take a picture of the taxi driver, and/or the plate and/or any other identifying features, while with Uber, the platform enables you and the authorities to locate the evil doers.
What is, then, the purpose of regulating Uber or any other car sharing platform as a regulated public service? Are decisions such as the one taken by the European Court of Justice inspired on the common welfare and the progress of its inhabitants, or is it a new pledge of allegiance to an old worldly system based upon privileges disguised on a false sense of protection that governments offer?