Local regulations are the great challenge for mobility platforms. Yesterday the new Transportation Law of the entity was approved in the Puebla Congress (by unanimity of 39 votes). It is an initiative that monitors drivers and users, authorizes access to the technologies and systems of digital platforms, regulates rates, schedules and travel frequencies and even orders inspections at the homes of drivers of transport apps.
The Puebla deputies approved legislation that violates fundamental rights enabled for years by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), such as mobility, work, privacy and protection of personal data.
Article 120, section VII of the Transportation Law allows the Ministry of Mobility and Transportation of the State of Puebla, in charge of Elsa María Bracamonte González, to access the technologies and systems of the Transportation Companies and Networks.
The mobility apps that operate in the entity would be obliged for security and research reasons to allow “access to smartphone technologies, global positioning systems and technological platforms that they use to provide the service, to monitor [sic.] drivers and guarantee the safety of users who demand point-to-point transport service ”.
The platforms Cabify, DiDi, TaxiAviso, Easy Taxi, Pronto and Uber operate in Puebla. The Transport Law not only impacts global platforms but also local enterprises that stimulate and create competition in the mobility market.
The technologies, systems and platforms through which drivers and users collaborate and mediate are the industrial property of companies and are governed by different laws such as copyright and protection of personal data held by individuals.
In a market as competitive as that of transport apps, the differentiators are innovation, the offer of services and the benefits that users obtain when using the application. All of this requires large investments. The Transportation Law of the State of Puebla discourages investments in mobility platforms to the detriment of users and the local economy.
The great intangible value that all collaborative platforms offer is the trust that users place in them and in the digital ecosystem. Trust in Internet platforms lies in the confidentiality of driver and user data, in the use made of them and in the security of transactions.
Access to the technologies and systems of companies that provide intelligent mobility services through platforms is a bad practice, in addition to being a disproportionate attribution assumed by the Puebla transport authority.
The surveillance of drivers and users is a violation of their privacy and protection of personal data, in addition to violating free access to ICT and the right to mobility. Technological platforms are obliged subjects of the law regarding the protection of personal data, so they would violate the specific regulations when providing access to the administrative authority of Puebla.
Section VIII of the same article 120 empowers the Ministry of Mobility and Transportation to “monitor that users complete the trips for which they requested the service and in the event that the timely conclusion cannot be verified, they must immediately inform the Secretariat ”.
Clearly, the new Transport Law does not know the operational and logistical details of mobility apps. This provision is also an attack on the privacy and protection of users’ personal data. In no market or country are platforms obliged to inform the corresponding authority of the termination of trips. Drivers and users lose confidence in the apps and privacy of their data when they know that the government of Puebla, through the Ministry of Mobility and Transportation, has access and is monitoring the routes and information of users.
As if that were not enough, Article 60 of the Transportation Law establishes that the Ministry of Mobility itself determines the rates for services, which is contrary to the free market and competition.
Users of transport apps have adopted these platforms precisely because of the flexibility and transparency in rates that depend on supply and demand, many times cheaper than those offered by other modes of transport such as traditional taxis, which are charged without a meter in municipalities it is discretionary and contrary to consumer rights. The foregoing has been recognized in various constitutional controversies and endorsed by a specialized opinion of the Federal Economic Competition Commission.
Article 11 regulates the service provision conditions such as itineraries, routes, schedules and frequencies, which correspond properly to the operation and logistics of the platforms enabled by technologies that identify the best and least congested routes.
Or, Article 128 that orders inspection visits to service providers and concession holders, which is disproportionate because they are technological platforms that provide a service based on the supply and demand of travel in real time.
Finally, article 111 prevents drivers from driving the vehicles as long as the apps do not inform the authority. The platforms add new drivers to their network on a daily basis and update their databases on a monthly basis to inform the authorities. If a driver registers in the days following the most recent update of the registry, he would be prevented from working and earning income.
The government of Miguel Barbosa (Morena) is placed among the entities of the country with laws and regulations that create bad practices and artificial barriers to innovation, the collaborative economy, the local digital ecosystem and the development of new business models enabled by technologies in benefit of users. It also limits fundamental rights, compromises the privacy of drivers and users, and damages flexible tariff freedom. The Transportation Law of the State of Puebla is approved when collaborative platforms have already demonstrated their benefits for the generation of income and the reactivation of the local economy. It is not an example to follow.
President of the Mexican Association for the Right to Information (Amedi)
Media and telecommunications analyst and academic at UNAM. Study the media, new technologies, telecommunications, political communication and journalism. He is the author of the book The media presidentialism. Media and power during the government of Vicente Fox.