Friday, May 22, 2015

Uber Isn't A Public Transportation Service?

First it was NYC with too few accessible taxis, then the mayor claiming that the taxis were a hazard, and now this...

Uber, Lyft, and other similar ride-sharing organizations, are claiming that disability laws do not apply to them.

Uber: Disability Laws Don’t Apply to Us

Say what? What are these guys smoking? Can I have some?

Uber IS a transportation service, not a "technology" company, because it's similar to a car service and taxis. All of them use a vehicle to take a passenger to a requested destination. Denying those with disabilities, or separating them from the non-disabled crowd, is still discrimination. Maybe they'd be a "technology" company if they used a teleporter, but no such luck.

No matter what, Uber's UberWAV and UberASSIST programs should be like how other taxi companies are set up, with the vehicles being used for disabled and not, and treated the same way without being charged too much more.

Want to know something else? Uber's also flooding the job boards with listings that say something like these:

"[job title] - Need to Earn More Money? Join UberX as a Driving Partner Today!"
"Having Trouble Getting A [job name/title/type] Job? Have A Flexible Schedule As An UberX Driving Partner Instead!"
"Entry Level Job Not Paying The Bills? Join UberX & Have a Flexible Schedule Driving Your Own Car."
"Make up to $xxx this Weekend in fares Driving Your Car. Join Uber Now!"

Personally, I'd avoid them til they clean up their act.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What Purple Should Have Done With The Relay

As I've said before in a previous blog post, there were things that Purple could have done that would have been easily programmed. Before I continue, those who ported their numbers to Sprint had to present a drivers license or another form of ID with their address on it including something like a utility bill. I will bring this up again soon.

Over time, I was wondering and thinking about how Purple could have better done their internal protections against the abuse that was being done. To refresh everyone's memories:

Here's Why Purple's in Deep DooDoo!
FCC Did Not Require Monitoring of IP-Relay Calls

What could Purple have done? Plenty! Their non-action led to the death of their IPRelay services, to them discontinuing it, over the FCC's responses. Think of what Sprint did in order to port our numbers over. Here's what Purple could easily have done. I'll be making reference to an "abused number," which would be a number that was used to place fraudulent calls. Four things they could have done:

1. The abused number would be deactivated and not reactivated until the owner would present some form of ID.

Our relay numbers are basically accounts with Purple. Unfortunately, the way Purple set things up, they shot themselves in the feet with a cannon by not requiring some form(s) of ID like Sprint did.

2. The new number would not be activated until owner would present ID.

Some accounts out there are not activated or given full access until a second action is done, like receiving an email with a URL which validates the new account to a degree. Others go further by requiring that plus ID. This is how Sprint protected themselves against the ongoing abuse from moving to their systems.

3. A database of IPs with "associated numbers" or numbers that were most often associated with that IP with notes.

Many help desks and customer service have "notes" which are associated with the customer's account. In this case, the frequently-abused numbers would be entered into a database together with the IPs that were associated with the incoming calls. This way, if a new number was created that was replacing the disabled one, this was a way to help the service keep on top of things. The only issue with this is that IPs can be spoofed but a good searchable database will still give some usable results.

4. Giving the operators more power.

This was probably THE most biggest complaint of all operators, not having enough power to stop or prevent the calls. Help desks and customer service had more power than this. There were forums and websites that talked about this including some Facebook posts.

So, Purple, can you do it?

We need our AIM relay back! The web interface isn't doing the job right.