Why fingerprinting Uber and Lyft drivers is a secondary issue for Austin’s City Council

This is a short follow-up to the stellar piece by Skylar on the same topic.

The question isn’t about whether or not Uber and Lyft should just “do the right thing” and accept fingerprinting. Of course they should, but that’s a secondary issue. These are for-profit, privately-owned businesses with no direct responsibility to the public beyond the one that creates a mutually-beneficial relationship between its users/customers and their bottom line.

The real question is about the government’s primary duty and role in serving the greater good of public interest and whether or not the perceived and real value of introducing fingerprinting as a mandatory requirement for companies like Uber and Lyft to exist in Austin is meaningful enough (based on the data we have today) to make this a legitimate pursuit of our elected leaders, particularly if the potential consequence of doing so could significantly hinder the ability of these for-profit, private companies to provide a unique product offering to Austin residents that is markedly better than the transportation alternatives and offers a service that has quickly established itself as being of tremendous value to the public interest and greater good of Austin.

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