In a peculiar twist, the ride application is now preparing a class action against the Peruvian government. Lawyers are concerned that this censorship could spill over and undermine other third party applications. They also argue that Picap should not be held responsible for their drivers’ misbehavior through an independent communication tool such as WhatsApp.
The Peruvian government had not been involved in conflicts with travel-sharing apps of this level before. If anything, at some point, she humbly fought to push Uber and Cabify to protect their users’ data. But that was pretty much it. This may explain the government’s need to exaggerate and mix seemingly unrelated civil, criminal and mercantile lawsuits.
In turn, Picap’s version of this scandalous story has more holes than the final season of Game of Thrones:
The startup is defending the legality of their application based on technical detail (definitely not a sign that they are looking for straws). The law explicitly prohibits public transport in two-wheeled vehicles. However, the app’s creators say they run on a private network and are not a taxi service. This clearly makes no sense. There is a lot of publicity in Lima where they describe their service as a “motorcycle taxi”.
Picap’s founders said that if an agreement cannot be reached with the Peruvian government, they will move away from the country, at least in terms of passenger transport services.
The lawyers serving the class action lawsuit are right. Censorship of such applications is dangerous for law-abiding ones. It sets an unpleasant legal precedent. Moreover, it is undeniable that traffic congestion is still a major problem throughout Latin America, which is why an idea like Picap might look good in countries in the region.
However, this is no excuse. The app has performed poor screening and put users at risk. As a user, you cannot consider the driver a separate standalone agent from startup. They are the face of the business, so of course you can’t stop blaming Picap.
It’s not about detailing the technical details of everything. Just do your homework and don’t expect that kind of thing to appear hot and steaming on your desk one morning.
As someone who often uses travel sharing apps, this is all very alarming. Clearly, Picap’s team screwed up, but that doesn’t justify any form of government surplus. Of course, this fight is far from over, and the coin is still fluttering in the air. Which way do you think it will land?
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