Questions about Uber

Hi Audrey, Max Rashbrooke here. A few questions for you - thanks in advance for the answers.

  1. In creating the agenda for the vTaiwan public meeting on Uber, is it right that you only put forward recommendations that had at least 80% agreement from everyone in the discussion?2. I’ve seen your description of the agenda here ( Looks like you made progress on lots of issues. Do you have an exact list of the seven recommendations that were debated?3. Also I couldn’t see any mention of the insurance issue that bothers Taiwan’s taxi drivers. They say they’re disadvantaged because they have to buy motor vehicle passengers insurance and Uber drivers don’t. Is that right, and was that covered in the vTaiwan process? If not, why not?4. I’ve seen a lot of ongoing reporting that Uber might be banned from Taiwan because it has registered as an “information provider” not a transport service provider. But I’ve also seen reporting that the government will work with Uber on this issue. What’s actually happening, and was that issue covered in the vTaiwan process? If not, why not? 5. Is Uber’s company status linked to whether it pays tax in Taiwan? Is that why it’s resisting to changing its status? 6. What’s the deal with the new “ecommerce tax” that has recently been announced – how does that affect the other issues around Uber’s tax status?7. Is it disappointing that Uber refused to back down on the tax issue – being a taxable entity in Taiwan – in the vTaiwan process? Since that’s such a big issue, does it indicate that the vTaiwan process failed in some way, that it isn’t as powerful as it needs to be?8. On a similar point, under the vTaiwan recommendations, presumably Uber can continue to deny that it is in an employment relationship with its drivers and thus avoid paying them certain benefits. Is that another shortcoming of the recommendations?9. What is the status of the legislation that incorporates the result of the vTaiwan process? Has it stalled because of the change in administration? And is it because of those delays that the taxi drivers are still protesting about Uber?10. Do the continuing protests by taxi drivers indicate that the vTaiwan process didn’t actually achieve a consensus that satisfies all the affected parties?11. Is it true, as some media have reported, that Taiwan was “outlawed” by a high court in February, and its drivers have been operating illegally since?12. What are the other “Uber-like” apps that you have written are entering the market, following the vTaiwan process?13. Ultimately, was the vTaiwan process about power – being able to mobilise enough people, and show consensus among them, that their power was able to bring Uber to the negotiating table and force a large number of concessions from the company?14. Is this kind of process possible only when things are still at the stage of problem-identification, as you call it? If a government wasn’t willing to say, ‘we don’t have the answers yet’, would the whole process be impossible?15. You’ve written that Uber is a “virus of the mind”, but also that the vTaiwan process helped govt and others feel “empathy” for the company. Which is it – a virus or something to feel empathy for?16. Is it right that your father was at Tiananmen Square? Can you tell us a little about that?17. How did you come to be appointed Digital Minister?18. Does the vTaiwan process show internet-based democracy maturing beyond clicktivism into something much more powerful?19. What’s the relationship between the essentially online processes we’re talking about here, and real life manifestations of democracy, like protests – do the two need to work together?20. Is this ultimately about bringing democracy up to speed with the 21st century?
  1. Yes. The heuristic for establishing a threshold when there were two groups is: All of the majority group, plus half of the minority group.
  2. Yes. They were listed in slides 96-98 in
  3. It was covered in自用車載客意見徵集諮詢會議#s1331
  4. Please read MOTC’s official response here:
  5. They are legally related, but as the facilitator, I’d like to refrain from commenting on any stakeholder’s possible motivations.
  6. To my knowledge, it is not directly related to the new e-taxi regulation.
  7. Personally I held no preconceptions going into the facilitation process, so any agreement is a progress.
  8. I think this reflects the fact that employment status — versus ride-sharing, like two trips a day — remains a flexible concept for people who participated in the deliberation.
  9. The new e-taxi regulation has just passed through the public comment period:
  10. I would say it’s partly due to the fact that we did not include Taxi associations in other cities back when vTaiwan deliberation started — mostly because UberX had not expanded to those areas at the time.
  11. To my knowledge, UberBlack drivers were not affected by that ruling; the ruling pertains to a part of UberX drivers which did not have professional drivers’ license.
  12. Of the Taxi cars on street, I’ve seen a custom medallion of; there are others but I’d like to refrain from providing a specific list.
  13. Sharing crowd-sourced agenda-setting power was certainly part of the process.
  14. It would be much more limited in scope and in willingness of participation, though still technically feasible.
  15. Empathy is a kind of inoculation for virus of the mind.
  16. Yes. He went there for a conference and just happened to be there when the protest started.
  17. Our premier, Lin Chuan, asked me to recommend candidates for the Digital Minister role; I asked around and people I’ve consulted all recommended that I take the post instead.
  18. It shows a glimpse of that, but there remains a lot of work to do.
  19. Yes, they need to work together, and the online process need to continuously integrate with face-to-face processes.
  20. Every participant has a different dimension/agenda/interpretation, and you’re certainly free to write your own. :slight_smile: To me, diversity and inclusion is important, and 21st century technologies certainly help, but they are instruments to further long-held values that I’d like to conserve.