Massachusetts Realizes That Maybe GPS Isn't Too Newfangled After All; Reverses Order & Allows Uber

from the uber-onward dept

Well, that was fast. It seems that Uber, the innovative new transportation offering, keeps running into local regulatory problems... but as soon as the public gets wind of these, the local governments back down. Last month, it was DC backing down on a bill that would artificially inflate Uber's prices. And now, it's Massachusetts. Yesterday, we noted that the Luddite Council "Sealer of Weights & Measures" had ruled that Uber had to shut down in Boston and Cambridge because of these newfangled "GPS" things (and it didn't even know what GPS stood for).

And... just like that, the "Division of Standards" has issued a "modified hearing decision" on the matter, in which it realizes that perhaps GPS isn't such a crazy, awful, dangerous technology after all. Apparently after re-examining "relevant amendments to Handbook 44 by NIST and NCWM" (National Institute of Standards & Technology and the National Conference on Weights and Measures), they've decided that Uber can continue to operate, granted "provisional" approval, which is "pending the outcome of the NIST study and/or the establishment of any standards for the use of such systems."

In other words, crisis averted for now, but wouldn't it be better for local regulatory agencies to think these things through a bit more in the future rather than defaulting to banning any new and innovative offerings?

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  1. identicon
    Bob B, 16 Aug 2012 @ 6:39am

    It's about the accuracy of your bill...

    It's a well know fact that civilian GPS is intentionally less accurate than military applications for obvious security reasons. There is an expectation that common sense will lead people to make-up the difference as they're driving or walking. A quick scan of all the stories of people driving onto train tracks or into buildings "because the GPS told me to" tells you what happens if people blindly rely on civilian GPS.

    I have a problem with anyone trying to bill me using technology that is known to be inaccurate. I want the Division of Standards to continue to ensure that all the systems used to generate bills are as accurate as possible. Consider this - would you be happy if the gas pump or the scale at the supermarket had the same margin of error as civilian GPS?

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