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NYC Cabs Continue To Be Tracked

The use of GPS tracking to watch over New York City taxi drivers will continue, at least for a while.  Katherine Forrest a district court judge in NYC ruled yesterday that the use of GPS to watch over the cab drivers was not an infringement on the driver’s rights.

GPS Tracking for Cabs

www.wikimedia.org NYC Taxi

Last year, Hassan El-Nahal, decided that he was going to sue the Taxi and Limousine Commission of New York.   It was in his opinion that the use of GPS to track the whereabouts of all taxi drivers was a violation of the fourth amendment.  He felt it violated his rights, as far as illegal search and seizure went.  It was Mr. El-Nahal’s thinking that the state needed a warrant to be able to track his movements and a warrant was nowhere to be had.

This tracking technology has been in use in all NYC cabs since 2007, it was originally installed as a credit card processing terminal so riders could use credit cards to pay their fares.  But… not only was the hardware for credit cards it was also used to track the movements of the cabs.  In theory the technology would cross check the distance the cabs drove while a paying customer was onboard and then cross reference that with the fair being charged.  This made certain that the fairs were within the legal limits set by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Mr. El-Nahal’s lawsuit came on the heels of a crackdown on illegal fares by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.  Back in 2010 the TLC stated there were as many as 20,000 drivers charging their passengers too much money for their rides.  The drivers were basically charging them out of town fares when they remained within the 5 boroughs for the length of their ride.  Many of you already know but the price that taxis can charge for any given trip within the city limits is highly regulated.

This is one of many great scenarios were GPS tracking has helped business regulate the use and abuse of their own systems.  While the illegal search and seizure case was found to be without merit by the NY judge, there have been cases in other areas of the law where the findings have been different.  This means that this suit will more than likely move on to a higher court for an appeal.

Sources: Capital New York, New York Times

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