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Uber sued in US for charging ‘wait time fees’ to people with disabilities

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Uber sued in US for charging wait time fees to people with disabilities

 

 

The United States Justice Department on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the ride-hailing app Uber over allegations of overcharging passengers with disabilities.

 

According to the statement published on the department’s website; Uber Technologies charged “wait time” fees to passengers who needed more time to enter the car due to their disability.

 

It has also asked the company to comply with the anti-discrimination law of America.

 

In April 2016, Uber began charging passengers wait time fees in a number of cities; the department of justice stated in the lawsuit.

 

Eventually, the company expanded the policy nationwide, it also said.

 

The department said that the wait time policy of Uber violates the Americans with Disabilities Act; saying blind people or users of wheelchairs or walkers need more than two minutes to get into a car.

 

“People with disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life, including the private transportation services provided by companies like Uber;” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who is representing the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

 

The lawsuit seeks to bring the company into compliance with the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); “while sending a powerful message that Uber cannot penalise passengers with disabilities simply because they need more time to get into a car,” it also said.

 

The department further asked Uber and other similar companies to ensure equal access for all people, “including those with disabilities”. “People with disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life, including the private transportation services provided by companies like Uber,” Clarke also said.

 

The lawsuit is filed at US District Court in San Francisco and seeks an order to Uber; to modify its wait time fee policy and pay monetary damages for any illegal fees that have been charged so far.

 

Wait time fees start two minutes after; the Uber car arrives at the pickup location and is charged until the car begins its trip.

 

Meanwhile, the company has called the lawsuit “surprising and disappointing”. “Wait time fees are charged to all riders to compensate drivers after two minutes of waiting, but were never intended for riders who are ready at their designated pickup location; but need more time to get into the car,” it said in a statement, according to a report by Reuters.

 

It also clarified that the company has issued refunds whenever disabled riders alerted about the charges on the app.

 

In April, Uber was ordered to pay $1.1m to a blind woman who was refused rides on 14 occasions.

 

In the lawsuit, it was alleged that Uber’s drivers had illegally discriminated against her due to her condition.

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Louis Vuitton artistic director and founder of Off-White dies at 41

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Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh, the artistic director for Louis Vuitton and the founder of Off-White, has died; after battling cancer privately for years. Louis’ parent company, LVMH, announced his passing on Sunday, Nov. 28.

The statement posted on Twitter reads: “LVMH, Louis Vuitton and Off White are devastated to announce the passing of Virgil Abloh, on Sunday, November 28th, of cancer, which he had been battling privately for several years.”

 

Louis Vuitton

Their CEO Bernard Arnault adds, “We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary; he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow; and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend.”

Also Read: Kanye West posts kissing photo with estranged wife Kim Kardashian

A statement was also released via Virgil’s private Instagram account.

Louis Vuitton

Virgil was the first black man to be tapped to take charge at LV with its look and vision in early 2018. He was also good friends with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

 

Louis Vuitton

 

He is survived by his parents, wife, and two children.

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UK: Future Tech Forum – Opening Keynote

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SoS gov.uk profile pic

Good morning everyone.

It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome you all to London, to the inaugural Future Tech Forum.

It’s the first major summit I’ve hosted since becoming Digital Secretary in September and what better place to be hosting a discussion about the future of tech, than in the Science Museum?

As you wander around this building over the next couple of days, you will spot “NeXTcube” – the computer that Tim Berners-Lee was sitting at when he designed the World Wide Web. With his invention in 1989, Berners-Lee set off a chain of events that have led us all here today.

Because digital technology has fundamentally changed our way of life. In fact, the entire infrastructure of the global economy – and modern society – is now built around tech. The five biggest tech companies are now worth almost $10 trillion – more than the next 27 most valuable U.S. companies put together. Amazon is the third biggest employer on the planet. Apple’s stock is worth more than Belgium’s entire wealth.

These companies track who we are, and what we like, and where we go and what we buy. They are an ever-present fixture of our daily lives. And they’ve done a huge amount to improve our existence. They connect us with friends and family. They’ve revolutionised working life. And given that the economies of some of these tech companies are the size of countries it’s great to see them tackling country-sized challenges like looking at tackling global welfare and development – as you’ll see in the first session with Microsoft today.

Meanwhile, the pace of technological change is astounding. We’ve got doctors performing surgery in a room miles away from their patient, armed with a joystick and some 3D equipment. Groundbreaking companies are exploring wild ways to manipulate biology – like reviving the smell of extinct flowers to create new perfumes.

At the same time, AI is everywhere – and getting more sophisticated by the day. Almost all experts think that within this century we’ll see a situation where machines are more intelligent than humans. In the long history of humanity, we are now officially living in the Digital Age. So it’s no wonder that governments all over the world are racing to set the rules for this new era.

Because if there’s anything we’ve learnt over the last 20 years, it’s that without the right governance and values built in from the start, tech can create some very serious problems. Problems that are hard to fix once they’ve happened.

Algorithms can send dangerous misinformation and poisonous abuse all over the world in a matter of seconds.
Authoritarian governments can use tech to track, to intimidate, and to repress. News services can be blocked with the flick of a switch, and competitors crowded out with the tweak of an algorithm.

All of this has ramifications: for our privacy, and prosperity and for society as a whole.

And so I’m gathering you all here today to start a new and frank conversation about the future of tech: About how we can work together to harness its incredible potentially, particularly when it comes to tackling the biggest challenges we face, like climate change while protecting people from the darker side of the Digital Age.

It’s on us, as like-minded partners, to make sure the tech revolution is a democratic one. And together, we’ll be discussing a number of challenges over the next two days.

Like: How do we get the governance of tech right from the start, rather than playing catch-up? What are the issues we need to think about now, before the adoption of new and emerging tech becomes widespread? How do we ensure new technologies reflect our liberal and democratic values? And where do we need international solutions – given tech is global in its very nature – and how do we deliver them? Every country in the world is grappling with these very same questions but the UK is leading the way in answering many of them.

The most obvious example is our Online Safety Bill, which we introduced in Parliament in July. That Bill is a truly groundbreaking piece of legislation. We’ll be going further than any other country to regulate social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

I know that the world will be watching what we do, and looking to follow our lead in many cases. We’ve got a 10-year plan to become a global AI superpower, through our National AI Strategy. We’ve broken yet more ground with a new, pro-competition Digital Markets Unit, to oversee the world’s most powerful tech companies.

We’re at the cutting edge of deepening Digital Trade, and I’m particularly pleased to welcome colleagues from Singapore here today, with whom we’re negotiating a ground-breaking Digital Economy Agreement.

And in a year of international leadership for the UK, we have used our presidency of the G7 to draw a number of lines in the sand about the future of tech: We agreed that as we tackle illegal and harmful content online, we should do so in a way that also protects fundamental democratic rights, like freedom of speech.

We agreed to work together on digital technical standards, and to promote the trusted and free flow of data. We agreed to accelerate the use of digital technologies to boost trade. And finally, we agreed to secure critical digital infrastructure, like our telecoms networks. I want to build on that work over the next two days, as our G7 leadership comes to a close and that’s why I’m delighted that so many people have travelled from all over the world to be here today.

We’ve got representatives from every corner of the planet – from the Republic of Korea to Kenya, Finland and the United States And I’m very excited about the UK’s new Digital Trade Network, which is going to make the most of fast-growing tech markets in the Asia Pacific region.

But we know that governments can’t meet these challenges alone. We’ve got to change the existing model, and bring together government, industry and academia to write the next chapter of tech together. To work together in a way that is more collaborative, more frank and more honest than it has perhaps been so in the past.

So the Future Tech Forum is bringing together the widest group of thought leaders from across government, industry and academia.

As the Prime Minister said when he announced this summit in his speech to the UN General Assembly in 2019, we have pulled together the broadest possible coalition to take on this task. And if we get these questions right, the potential benefits for our countries are enormous. So as I officially open the Future Tech Forum, I’d like to finish by saying that I think we’re facing a fundamental choice about our future:

Is tech going to be a force for good, or a force for bad? We’re all here today because we are determined to make it the former. So without further ado, let’s get things underway with the first session, on tech and democracy.

I’m delighted to welcome to the stage:

Former Danish Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Microsoft Vice President John Frank

And last but by no means least, my colleague Julia Lopez, the Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure.

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Islamic Group Gives Nigerian University 7-Day Ultimatum To Allow Muslim Female Students Use Hijab, Niqab On Campus

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Prof Ishaq Akintola

An Islamic advocacy organisation, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), on Monday, rebuked the management of the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta (FUNAAB) the Ogun state capital, for placing a ban on the use of hijab and niqab by Muslim female students on campus.

 

The group described the action as sentimental and against the provisions of the Constitution which accommodate the coexistence of different religions in the country.

MURIC alleged that a Muslim female student of the school was asked to remove her veil by some security personnel before she could be allowed to enter the school.

 

This, according to the Islamic group, was a display of hate and an effort by the institution to profile innocent Muslim female students on campus.

 

It, however, gave the management seven days to change its position or risk a democratic action by the Muslim students on campus.

 

MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola said in a statement on Monday, “No institution of learning, from primary to tertiary, whether federal, state, or even private, has the right to prohibit the use of hijab or niqab. It is a contravention of the provisions of Section 38(i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which says inter alia:

“‘Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.’

 

“Furthermore, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right, (ICCPR) guarantees the right to freedom of religion unconditionally. In addition, Article 9 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights & Fundamental Freedoms contains a right to have ‘respect for the religious feelings of believers…’ But FUNAAB authorities have no respect for the religious feelings of Muslims. This must stop!

 

“The problem with some non-Muslim heads of educational institutions and public offices in the South-West is that they wrongly assume that they can compel Muslims under them to abide by their own non-Muslim way of dressing. They, therefore, go all out to enact rules and regulations which disallow Muslims from dressing like Muslims. This presupposes that they hate the sight of Muslims.

 

“We affirm that any rules and regulations which contradict the letter and spirit of the constitution are illegal, unlawful, illegitimate and unconstitutional. This is the import of Chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1(1) & (3) of the Constitution which stipulates.

 

“‘This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’ In particular, Section 1(3) says, ‘If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.’

 

“To that extent, therefore, all anti-niqab pronouncements, memos, circulars, posters, etc., issued by FUNAAB are null, void and of no legal effect whatsoever. The same goes for all such declarations and actions in other academic institutions throughout Yorubaland.  

 

“We are not unaware of the security implications of the use of niqab and hijab, particularly in these days of general insecurity and we are going to be pragmatic in our approach to this danger. There is the assumption that the dresses may aid shoplifting in campus bookshops or libraries. Weapons may also be hidden under such clothing. But the same fears should also be entertained about some of our African dresses, e.g. agbada or babanriga. Or will any institution contemplate the banning of these African dresses on their campuses?

 

“Therefore, if the authorities are not just keen on profiling Muslims, all they need to do is to ensure that Muslim women wearing niqab or hijab are checked by female security personnel. Their identities can also be verified by female officials who will take them to one side and take a look at their faces and cross-check their identity cards.

 

“The security threat is not enough to deprive this insignificant number of students of their Allah-given fundamental human rights. Even the United Nations described Article 18 of the ICCPR as a provision that ‘cannot be derogated from, even in time of public emergency’.

 

“Hijab does not pose this kind of threat anyway. But how many female Muslim students use the niqab on campuses? They are very few, perhaps, 2, 3 or a maximum of 5 on campus. Those using niqab are very few because, unlike hijab, the niqab is not mandatory. It is a matter of choice but, at the same time, it is a symptom of a deeper spiritual journey into the labyrinth of taqwah (piety).

 

“Therefore, any Muslim woman who chooses to use niqab has simply elected not to ‘dress to kill’ or to show her curves just to make men salivate and run after her. Even for this reason alone, she deserves love and respect, not hate and humiliation.

 

“This is why we find the billboard on decent dressing erected by FUNAAB most illogical, highly irritating and extremely ridiculous. The university placed the picture of a Muslim woman in niqab among those of female students in hot pants, body hugs, male sagging trousers, crazy jeans, etc. We strongly condemn this act of provocation and we demand that the Muslim woman’s picture be removed from the billboard without delay.

 

“FUNAAB must also withdraw the ban placed on niqab within seven days or Muslim students in the institution will embark on peaceful demonstration as from Monday, 6 December 2021. FUNAAB is advised not to test our will or that of the Muslim students.”

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