Last month, the tech industry giant Uber netted a harsh warning from state regulators: Turn over data in 30 days, or its license to operate in California would be suspended.
Now the 30 days are up, and Uber has filed an appeal to halt regulators from slamming the brakes on its drivers statewide.
The appeal was sent to the California Public Utilities Commission Aug. 14, but only posted online by the CPUC late Tuesday. It will now be reviewed by the regulator.
New statewide laws are now in the works for transportation network companies, as ride-hail apps like Uber and Lyft are legally known as in California. The CPUC is in the process of crafting what it calls its “Phase II” regulations by the end of 2016.
The regulator may redefine how Uber and Lyft conduct criminal background checks, allow minors to ride as passengers, and conduct vehicle inspections, among other laws.
CPUC administrative law judge Robert Mason granted the CPUC Safety Enforcement Division until Sept. 14 to analyze the legality of Uber’s appeal, according to Christopher Chow, a spokesman for the commission.
Mason will then weigh the enforcement division’s findings and Uber’s appeal to make a ruling, according to the CPUC, though a timeframe was not provided. After the modified decision is issued, it would then come before CPUC commissioners for a vote at their next meeting.
San Francisco-based Uber is now valued by investors at more than $50 billion. The tech giant may still yet see its license to operate in California suspended, the CPUC told the Examiner, pending the commission’s final decision.
Uber said in a statement, “[The CPUC] failed to take into account the substantial amounts of data already provided by Uber as well as the fact that these requests go well beyond the authority of the Commission and will not improve public safety.”
The CPUC’s initial ruling said that Uber failed to report vast reams of raw data. This included the number of customers who requested disability accessible vehicles, time and location drivers picked up passengers, reports on problem drivers and the amount of insurance paid for driver “incidents.”
In its appeal, attorneys for Uber’s subsidiary, Raiser, argue it provided aggregate data to the CPUC, including heat maps and percentages.
Uber said raw data the CPUC requested may be subject to public record requests — perhaps revealing “trade secrets” to competitors.
Previously, the CPUC said the data was needed to help investigate three common complaints, so far unsubstantiated, about Uber’s business practices: That it does not service passengers with disabilities, that it may ignore customers in less affluent neighborhoods, and that collision incidents may not be paid out by insurers.
As the CPUC considers revising laws around criminal background checks for apps like Uber, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon filed a civil complaint he said shows Uber’s criminal check process is faulty. Gascon’s office found 25 Uber drivers in San Francisco and Los Angeles convicted of crimes, including murder and sex offenses.California Public Utilities CommissionDistrict Attorney George GasconregulationsTNCTransitUber