By Michael Zhang
San Francisco Leading the way in Regulating Airbnb
Regulating Airbnb, the online, community-based home rental service, has been difficult. For example, Airbnb in New York has shown how the deregulated nature of that market leads to complaints from neighbors, springboards for illicit activity, and violations of local laws in subletting, zoning, and tax, even prompting action by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. New York’s regulations in response to Airbnb may be too overreaching in pushing out legitimate businesses.
San Francisco, on the other hand, may be spearheading a viable solution in legalizing Airbnb by establishing a new city registry for Airbnb hosts, collecting hotel tax, limiting certain types of rentals, requiring minimum liability insurance, and establishing formal enforcement guidelines. Critics question whether this law is enforceable and how the city should handle Airbnb’s back-taxes.
Mobile Net Neutrality and the Connected Car
More and more manufacturers are rolling out “connected cars” i.e., cars that connect to the Internet and pull real time information for drivers. This connectivity is an important source of innovation in the automobile industry as cars intersect with mobile communications. One issue is whether these rules, as they would apply to wired services, should also apply to mobile carriers. As the FCC revisits its 2010 exemption for mobile broadband, U.S. automaker General Motors has sided with wireless carriers in the net neutrality debate. As more heavyweights stake positions in the net neutrality debate, the more likely Tim Wu’s prediction “there will be blood” will ring true.