World Streets on “Taxi Anonymous”

woman hailing taxi in rain - source

 Thinking about grabbing a taxi this morning? Did you ever consider this?

Hey, it’s 2015.  No problem. Grab your phone, dial up Uber, Lyft, Google or even your favorite local state-of-the-art taxi company, and they will have a car and driver at your door step in minutes.  Bingo!  Life is sweet.

But whoa?  Did you ever think about this?

You, that pristine moment in time, you the unique person on this planet, your trip, point of origin, trip destination, route, the weather, precise times, price, status of your credit card and everything about that one time event, including perhaps even your conduct as a passenger,  will suddenly enter into the insatiable belly of Big Data, which is big enough, hungry enough not only to digest all this latest wave of what is after all purely personal information, but also, as part of the one-sided deal, conveniently stock it on the same shelf as all the many accumulating elements of “your story”.  You have now officially become a target for unknown future predators.

Do you have to be paranoid to think about that next trip in this way?  Hmm.

But then there is this. In life one can be a bit “paranoid” (i.e., suspicious, worried, nervous, fearful, apprehensive – or what about, cautious, private, discrete, sensitive? —  and also be right.

So the next time you are looking for a ride . . .

Moral of the story:  We need vigilant governance and active citizenry to weigh these choices and structure the law in a democratic society.  And now is that exact time.

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About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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One thought on “World Streets on “Taxi Anonymous”

  1. The TV detective show Elementary – recently had a program: “The View From Olympus” The description begins: A driver for a ridesharing company is intentionally run over by a city cab, Holmes and Watson wonder if it’s a case of professional jealousy. Olympus is the name of the company and the murder is related to the misuse of customer data.” Link to the episode follows:


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