Lyft, Uber again hoping to keep records private – seattlepi.com

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Published 9:29 pm, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lyft and Uber are not looking for to share their knowledge. 

With anybody.

The two journey-hailing corporations have sued the town of Seattle to cease the discharge of records, a problem they’ve each fought exhausting towards in multiple occasion.

In this case, an Austin, Texas man submitted a public records request in January asking for knowledge on rides the experience-hailers had offered in Seattle and King County.


As quickly because the county notified the businesses concerning the request, they requested a courtroom to block launch of the records, based mostly on the argument that the knowledge would reveal commerce secrets and techniques and harm their aggressive edge.

“We feel strongly that it’s competitive,” stated Nathan Hambley, Seattle spokesperson for Uber.

The metropolis argued that the records haven’t any worth outdoors of assembly licensing necessities, and that the businesses have shared comparable records with different companies when it’s to their benefit to achieve this.

And that is hardly the one case of the businesses aiming to keep their records a secret — one thing attorneys for the town made positive to word of their trial temporary.

“Plantiffs’ (Lyft and Uber) data is only a ‘trade secret’ when they are seeking to limit regulation, which is part of their business plan,” the town’s attorneys stated in courtroom papers.

Just final week, Lyft filed go well with in a Florida courtroom aiming to block launch of records that may, amongst different issues, launch journey knowledge, in accordance to a report by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

In one other go well with, additionally filed in Florida, the Yellow Cab firm in Broward County sued the county in February for withholding the quantity of charges Uber had paid for selecting up passengers on the airport there.

Both Uber and Lyft sued King County final December to block the discharge of records displaying what number of drivers held permits to drive within the county. In that case, too, the businesses asserted the numbers have been commerce secrets and techniques.

The records were ultimately released, with a decide noting that each one different transportation firm licensing info is public.

As a part of their licensing agreements, Uber, Lyft, and all taxi and for-rent corporations have to report no small quantity of data to the town, together with: Number of rides, the place these rides begin and finish (by zip code), the share of rides in every zip code, the best way rides are requested, any reviews of crimes towards drivers or passengers, and extra.

Taxi corporations have to report the identical knowledge as Uber and Lyft. And no less than on the airport, taxi and for-rent knowledge is available by way of a public records request.

But Uber and Lyft are uptight about their knowledge, to say the least. And the businesses argue in trial briefs that the town hasn’t all the time disagreed with them.

“Contrary to the city positions in other (Public Records Act) trade secret cases, the city’s promises to Lyft (to induce Lyft to provide the zip code data in the first place), and the city’s actual treatment of this data, the city has now done an about-face and instead now aggressively asserts that Lyft’s data is not a trade secret,” attorneys for Lyft wrote of their trial temporary.

The argument goes on to say that public disclosure of the info would “destroy the value of Lyft’s property interest in its trade secret and cause it competitive harm.”

Uber’s Hambley additionally stated knowledge collected by Uber could possibly be extra complete than that collected by taxi corporations, subsequently making it a priceless commerce secret whereas the opposite isn’t.

True commerce secrets and techniques might be topic to exemption from disclosure beneath Washington’s Public Records Act.

Many of the records the Texas man requested for have been subsequently launched even earlier than the difficulty went to trial earlier this month, although Uber and Lyft nonetheless sought to seal courtroom records and shut the courtroom. Some records have been sealed, although the decide agreed solely to achieve this on an merchandise by merchandise foundation. The courtroom was not closed for the continuing.

The remaining knowledge up for debate was that round the place rides started and ended and the share from every zip code.

Tuesday was set to be the ultimate listening to within the matter, although no judgment was filed by shut of enterprise.



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