The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00062

Submission Number:
00062
Commenter:
Joseph Pedoto
State:
Connecticut
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I'm very concerned about the 'sharing economy' for creating conditions that amount to a digital serfdom where the owners of the platforms gain all the benefits, and the 'independent contractors' that work for them are left with all the risks. Additionally, these workers have zero job security and none of the protections or benefits of the traditional work force: unemployment insurance, health insurance, pensions or 401(k)s and the like. I feel certain that the people who create these 'McJobs' would never themselves work under such conditions. The 'move fast and break things' attitude of the leading companies of the sharing economy and their enormous public valuations makes me think we are in the midst of another tech bubble. The companies I am most familiar with are TaskRabbit, Uber and Airbnb. I happen to know the owners of the Chelsea apartment that was 'sublet' for a weekend by Ari Teman via Airbnb for what turned out to be a 'sex party' (NY Daily News, March 17, 2014 http://tinyurl.com/o5ve972). The media coverage I read of this event was not complete. Mr Teman is a tenant renting from the owners of this condo and his use of Airbnb was, I am told, in direct violation of his lease. All apartment leases in NYC place restrictions on subletting as a matter of standard business practice. I'm familiar with this since I lived in Manhattan and later, Brooklyn for 25 years. For 14 years I was Co-op President and Building Manager of a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In that regard it's not clear to me that any tenant in New York City can legally use the Airbnb service. For the problems with TaskRabbit I refer you to Jacob Silverman's new book, "Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection," pages 222 through 245. As for Uber I offer the following from Forbes.com and the links below about attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan and the Time.com story "UberX Driver Arrested for Trying to Rob Woman's Home After Taking Her to Airport." "Forbes List of Worst CEO Screw-Ups of 2014 #4 Travis Kalanik, CEO, Uber Failed to deal successfully with multiple problems. Among them: a driver in India was arrested for allegedly raping a woman in his car, officials in Bangkok, Madrid and Portland, OR ordered Uber to stop operations over concerns the company wasn't abiding by local regulations, district attorneys in San Francisco and LA said the company falsely advertised safety standards. Reprimanded but didn't fire a senior vice president who said the ride-hailing company should think about hiring a team to dig up dirt on journalist Sarah Lacy, who has been critical of the company." Meet the lawyer taking on Uber and the rest of the on-demand economy http://fusion.net/story/118401/meet-the-lawyer-taking-on-uber-and-the-on... UberX Driver Arrested for Trying to Rob Woman's Home After Taking Her to Airport http://time.com/3766635/uber-ride-sharing-denver-san-francisco-uberx/