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NYC Cabbies Lose Court Battle Over GPS

October 02, 2007

NEW YORK – A federal judge refused to block a new city rule that requires taxi drivers to install global positioning systems and credit card machines in their cabs, according to the Associated Press. More than 13,000 yellow cabs must be equipped with GPS and software that record where the cars are every eight seconds or the drivers could face fines.

The drivers argue that the city overstepped its authority and acted unconstitutionally when it mandated the units. Their lawsuit also claims GPS will give away trade secrets by disclosing the cabbies’ driving patterns, which they say give them a competitive edge.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman refused to block the rule from taking effect, saying the use of the technology to improve taxi service appeared to outweigh drivers’ privacy rights. He urged the two sides to negotiate and set the next hearing for Oct. 10.

Malcolm Goldstein, a lawyer for the taxi drivers, said the case is among the first to confront GPS issues, according to the Associated Press.

Hundreds of drivers idled their cabs for a two-day protest of the GPS technology in early September. The group leading that strike called it a “resounding success,” while city officials said disruption was minimal.

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