Feeds

San Francisco issues SMACKDOWN on parking spot sale software

City says Monkey Parking can't deal in public spaces

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

San Francisco city officials are cracking down on mobile applications that allow users to buy and sell public parking spaces.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Monday that his office had sent a cease-and-desist notice to the developers of Monkey Parking, a mobile app which lets users sell their public parking spaces in crowded urban areas.

The Monkey Parking app, available for iOS and Android, allows users to set a price for their parking spot which is then listed for other drivers who can then make offers to buy the space. Upon agreeing to the deal, users can then chat and confirm the transaction for the parking spot.

The app, which currently operates only in Rome and San Francisco, would seek to provide users an easy way to get a spot in cities notorious for being short of parking spaces.

Unfortunately, officials in San Francisco say that the App runs afoul of local regulations. Herrera noted that while residents are free to sell off the rights to their private parking spaces and garages, San Francisco's police code expressly forbids selling access to city-owned public spaces on streets and sidewalks.

Should the company not drop support for San Francisco parking from its app, Herrera said that Monkey Parking users would face penalties of $300 each time they sell access to a spot, while the company could be held liable for a $2,500 for each transaction it facilitates.

"It's illegal, it puts drivers on the hook for $300 fines, and it creates a predatory private market for public parking spaces that San Franciscans will not tolerate," Herrera said in announcing the order.

"Worst of all, it encourages drivers to use their mobile devices unsafely – to engage in online bidding wars while driving."

Herrera also said that the city would petition Apple to take the Monkey Parking App off of the App Store on the grounds that it violates local law. As of 1:45pm PDT, the Monkey Parking App was still available for download.

Monkey Parking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny told El Reg that the company couldn't yet comment specifically on the letter, but said that in general the company hopes that cities will regulate the service rather than issue an outright ban.

"This applies also to companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft that are continuously facing difficulties while delivering something that makes users happy," he said.

"Regulation is fundamental in driving innovation, while banning is just stopping it."

Monkey Parking is not the only firm potentially facing action from San Francisco. The city also said that it plans to bring similar orders against the developers of parking spot selling apps Sweetch and ParkModo later in the week.

"We don't understand why they want to shut us down. We are trying to solve the huge parking problem which is not only bad for drivers but for all the city," a Sweetch spokesperson told The Reg.

"30 percent of congestion is due to parking and that creates pollution and makes the city a bad place to live in."

Despite its status as a technology hub, San Francisco has seen a contentious relationship arise with many of the startup firms and employees who have set up shop in the city in recent years. The influx of monied young professionals has brought a surge in rent and caused clashes with neighborhood groups on matters such as private bus access and gentrification. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.