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The state attorney general and New York City’s chief lawyer announced a new effort to help technology startups understand what regulations they’ll need to follow and to help regulators understand what rules might be getting in innovators’ way.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, city Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter and several local law schools are working together on what Schneiderman called the first startup law clinic to boast expertise from government authorities.
“This collaboration will not only help new companies navigate our regulatory system, but it will also help provide insight to the state and the city about outdated or overly cumbersome rules and trends that we need to be aware of,” Schneiderman said at a Fordham University School of Law conference on the sharing economy.
It’s a term for companies such as Airbnb and Uber that use technology to provide accommodations, transportation and other services.
But while government shouldn’t cling to outmoded rules just because they’re there, tech companies can’t simply think that officials should scrap any regulations that impose limitations on their business, Schneiderman said. Over the decades since the Internet boom began, tech companies have sometimes bristled at regulation as innovation-stifling interference from out-of-touch officials.
The message was coming from an attorney general who has both clashed and compromised with prominent sharing-economy players.
He issued a report last fall saying that nearly three-quarters of Airbnb listings in New York City violated city or state laws that seriously limit short-term rentals. San Francisco-based Airbnb has said it has since removed many listings that violated laws and urges its hosts to know and follow the rules.
Schneiderman also examined Uber’s “surge pricing,” or raising its app-hailed taxis’ fares when demand is high. The practice brought a chorus of complaints when fares shot up during some storms a couple of years ago.
Amid Schneiderman’s scrutiny, San Francisco-based Uber agreed last summer to limit fare increases during emergencies. Schneiderman called the agreement a “model for the kind of effective collaboration” between government and technology companies.
“The sharing economy holds enormous potential to be a dramatic agent of positive change for our society, and government is “a critical part of the equation,” Schneiderman said Friday.
This article was written by Jennifer Peltz from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.