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Crime Transportation Your Rights Online

Finnish Police: If You See Uber Car, Call 911 330

emakinen writes: The police in Helsinki, Finland has announced in a tweet that if you see someone driving Uber car, you should call 911 (or actually, 112 in Finland). In an article in the local newspaper they have explained that there is an ongoing investigation to find out whether or not Uber is legal in Finland and they want to interrogate Uber drivers. Normally you should have a permit to drive a taxi in Finland.
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Finnish Police: If You See Uber Car, Call 911

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  • by I'm just joshin ( 633449 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @12:48PM (#50280091)

    I'm glad Finland has no other problems for the police to worry about.

    • Re:Wow Finland! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday August 09, 2015 @12:58PM (#50280137) Homepage Journal

      I'm glad Finland has no other problems for the police to worry about.

      Yeah, I don't know whether I want to move there because they clearly have no crime nor emergencies to deal with, or make sure to never visit there because they treat the desire to interview someone like a police emergency.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Why don't the police just book an Uber driver to come to them? Maybe don't ask for collection in front of the police station, in case it's too obvious.

        There must be more to this than we have, it doesn't make sense and the Finnish police are not that dumb.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by beelsebob ( 529313 )

          Because that would be entrapment.

          • Re:Wow Finland! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @07:22PM (#50281877) Homepage

            Pulled this definition from Google.

            In criminal law, entrapment is a practice whereby a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would have otherwise been unlikely to commit

            It doesn't count as entrapment if you just use the usual method to book the Uber car. If the guy is signed up as an Uber driver, and being an Uber driver is against the law, then the driver is obviously previously disposed to commit the crime. There might be more of a case if they stopped a random guy on the street and offered him $50 to drive him a couple miles down the road. Who wouldn't pass up that offer?

      • the desire to interview someone like a police emergency.

        In some places, including in the US, I've been told to call 911 for fairly standard police issues. They only man the regular switchboard, 9-5 or something and their 24 hour phone response is hooked to 911. Probably a different budget item or reusing infrastructure or something. Probably also helps because it gives the operators something to do during slow times, and they can hang up/put on hold people with a routine matter when shit starts to go do

    • Re:Wow Finland! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by westlake ( 615356 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @01:13PM (#50280223)

      I'm glad Finland has no other problems for the police to worry about.

      Law enforcement multi-tasks --- a concept the geek seems to find unusually hard to grasp.

      • Between driving, double fisting donuts, surfing on their 4G enabled laptops, and their regular duties harassing drivers, I think these LEO need raises to compensate them for their newfound increase in multitasking duties.
        • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

          Between driving, double fisting donuts, surfing on their 4G enabled laptops, and their regular duties harassing drivers, I think these LEO need raises to compensate them for their newfound increase in multitasking duties.

          Why give them a raise? You just described a good portion of drivers on American highways if you replace laptops for smartphones.

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        Nothing wrong with investigating it. But in many countries, at least, using 911 (or equivalent) for something as trivial as reporting speeders and expired plates would pretty much tie up the entire system with non-emergencies...

    • by GNious ( 953874 )

      Is really the problem with police - they are only ever able to address a single item at a time, so when they say to call 112 if you see a given (potential) crime as per Finnish law, it means that the police is completely and 100% dedicated to that single (potentially) criminal activity.

    • "I'm glad Finland has no other problems for the police to worry ab"

      I suppose it wants to issue one of those $65,000 tickets Finland is famous for, maybe on grounds of competing with the local drunk-ass socialists.

    • I'm glad Finland has no other problems for the police to worry about.

      Pretty much. Other than "18 year-old drunken Finnish youth molesting a reindeer" there really isn't much crime in Finland. What there is can be chalked up to the fact that for 7 months of the year, there's not much to do but drink.

      Finland isn't even in the top 100 developed countries in terms of crime rates. Clearly, they're not trying hard enough.

  • Maybe, licensing taxies was a good idea at some point. There is very little competition among them, because their usage is sporadic — you need it, you raise a hand to hail one and take the first available without any way of figuring out the driver's and his company's reputation.

    But Uber and Lyft and others have changed that. You can choose between these companies and you know the driver's reputation — and bad ones don't survive there long. A piece of government bureaucracy found itself irrelevant.

    That is a very hard thing to accept and acknowledge even for honest men and women. For the corrupt ones — and, face it, government jobs tend to attract a higher share of such — it is something to fight tooth-and-nail. With laws, regulations, and PR-campaigns... Private victims of the old system may also be used as foot-soldiers [thelocal.fr] against the new. It will not be pretty, but technology is destiny. We'll win, but not easily.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Prove that the driver is actually the person with whom the Uber account was established by.

      Prove that the insurance meets passenger livery laws.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Uhm, in Uber app you see the driver picture and name and license plate and make and model of the car... Bit easy to figure out if it's him/her or not...

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by mi ( 197448 )

        Prove that the driver is actually the person with whom the Uber account was established by.

        Prove, that the frequency of this occurring is higher among Uber, than among "official" taxis.

        With private companies, if one develops a reputation of not properly enforcing its policies, the customers will flock to the others. With the city's government being the sole certifier, there is nothing to do but to avoid the whole city altogether.

        Prove that the insurance meets passenger livery laws.

        Guilty until proven innoc

        • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @01:13PM (#50280227)
          My point is that there are potential criminal penalties enforced by the state if the driver of the cab isn't the licensee.
          • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @01:19PM (#50280257)

            My point is that there are potential criminal penalties enforced by the state if the driver of the cab isn't the licensee.

            So what?

            The British government thinks it's quite OK for convicted rapists to become cab drivers, so why would you care whether the driver is the one they licensed?

            • "The American government thinks it's OK for cops to shoot innocent black guys."

              ^ An equally moronic statement to yours.

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            My point is that there are potential criminal penalties enforced by the state if the driver of the cab isn't the licensee.

            So? Is this supposed to be a good thing?! An advantage of the current model?!

            Wow... And, by the way, you are yet to cite any stats showing, it actually works — that Uber drivers "share" their contracts with others more often, than government-licensed cabbies sublease their cabs...

        • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @01:25PM (#50280297)

          Guilty until proven innocent? Thank you for exposing yourself as a statist... You are the enemy, and you will be defeated.

          Forgot to reply to this part earlier.

          I'm a realist and I've had to deal with small businesses and contractors my entire working life. The one thread that nearly all of them have in common is they'll cut corners whenever and wherever they can at an upper management level, will cut corners at middle management crew-chief or foreman or section manager level, and the employees themselves will further cut corners whenever and wherever they can as well. In some ways it doesn't matter if upper management decides to turn-around problems, if their middle management layers and workers have other ideas then nothing will change.

          As far as Uber goes, if a driver as an independent contractor wants to save money he may well reduce his insurance. After all, he's a safe driver, right? He doesn't get into crashes, right? What's the difference besides a few more bucks in his pocket? That works fine until he's involved in a crash and his insurance won't pay the whole bill for the extensive medical treatment for his badly injured passenger, or even where the other driver has no insurance and his commercial insurance is supposed to cover his own passengers in that scenario, except he doesn't have it...

          • by hsa ( 598343 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @04:00PM (#50281005)
            I live in Finland. If you suffer a hard crash, you don't have to pay thousands of euros, since healthcare is mostly free and in case of accident, they charge you like 15 euros booking fee and some additional expenses, if you need a room at the hospital to recover. But that is like 100 euros a night on public healthcare.

            Insurance is mostly for the car damage (both cars) and it is required by the law.

            --

            The taxis are really expensive in Finland, the base fare is ~7 euros and you pay like 2 euros/km and there is extra for the drive time. In Estonia, the taxis cost one third of our prices and they have a decent taxi system.

            For all this bureaucracy our taxi cars are mostly new, top shape and drivers get tax deductions on their cars. You would think, that they know the city they drive in, but half of the time they use navigators. You can pay by credit card and I have never been scammed in a Finnish taxi.

            I am sure the taxi drivers are pissed, because using cheaper cars and drivers would bring the prices down to a realistic level (like less than 50% of current prices) and taxi drivers pay a premium to the dispatch centers for getting their fares.

            Mostly taxis are used on friday and satuday nights, when people get home from the clubs and pubs. Having to wait 30 minutes for a taxi in a queue is common here and that generates a lot of fights, when drunken fools try to skip the queue. If some normal working man would like to generate a little extra income on those nights, that would be just awful - for the business..

          • The same argument about insurance applies to everyone on the road. People drive uninsured all the time.
    • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @01:35PM (#50280351)

      You have a very strange idea about how taxis work.

      because their usage is sporadic — you need it, you raise a hand to hail one and take the first available without any way of figuring out the driver's and his company's reputation.

      Absolutely, 100% wrong unless you live in Manhattan, NYC. Have you ever been outside Manhattan? I used to live in northern NJ, and I noticed that a lot of Manhattanites had an extremely myopic view of the world, and it seemed like many of them had never left the island at all and couldn't conceive of how life is very different outside their little bubble.

      Let me clue you in. Outside of Manhattan (but inside the US), at almost any place except for a busy airport's taxi stand, or a few select high-density downtown areas (perhaps SF or Chicago), you don't get a cab by raising your hand. Instead, you (before Uber came along) had to find a phone, then find a phone book (remember those?), then look up cab companies, call one of them, hope they're open, and have them "radio dispatch" a driver to pick you up. You could be waiting 30-60 minutes to get a ride. After smartphones became common, it got a little easier because now you have a phone in your pocket and can look up cab companies on Google Maps, but the 30-60 minute wait was still there.

      Uber/Lyft changed all that, because now you could just start up the U/L app, hit a button, and a driver would pick up the hail and start driving to you immediately, without having to talk to some moron at a dispatch office and try to tell them where you're located; the app knows exactly where you are from your GPS location, and sends that to the driver. Then, you can see just how far away the driver is, so if he's too far away you can cancel that hail and start a new one and let another closer driver pick it up. U/L put power back into the hands of the consumer, rather than the service provider.

      The stuff about reputation is good too, but the biggest difference I saw in using the services a handful of times when my car was unavailable was convenience.

      U/L really are revolutionary in multiple ways: convenience, reputation, etc.; I do believe they still need regulation, but this seems like an unfortunately case where many different governments in different places are showing themselves to be either incompetent or outright corrupt by attempting to kill U/L instead of working with them to establish good regulations, mainly because the established taxi companies don't like it and want to keep things in the 20th century, where consumers have no way of sharing information about cab companies and drivers and have no way of easily making use of them.

      • >> or a few select high-density downtown areas (perhaps SF or Chicago), you don't get a cab by raising your hand.

        In SF, you get a cab by raising your hand only at times when you dont need one. At all other hours, it is impossible to hail a cab on street, and calling does not help - the guys simply dont show up. Official taxi company apps are teh suck and never work. Hence, Uber just wins by actually getting you a car when you need one.

    • I will have to voluntarily return my Geek Card for this post, but I agree with Finland on this. Whether it makes sense to a bunch of folks in Silicon Valley or not, it is Finland's country, and their laws. And it is their choice how decide to regulate taxis, whether it makes any economic sensor or not.

      To counter, Finns are the best hunters in the world. They don't shoot cuddly little lions, like Cecil, but when a bear was threatening children in Germany, they turned to professional hunters from Finland

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        What is it with all of the horrible analogies on this topic today? You are equating giving someone a ride without a license to murdering your neighbor's dog?

        And as far as "Finnish hunters" - I'm not a big fan of hunting (especially trophy hunting like bears) but in the US there are upwards of 40,000 bears killed by hunters every year. Finland issued about 140 bear hunting permits last year, while Minnesota alone issued almost 4000.

        • I'm not a big fan of hunting (especially trophy hunting like bears)

          Read my post again. This was not about trophy hunting. The German authorities tried to catch the bear . . . but it was too smart. And it was aggressive. And near children. Hiring a Finnish hunting team was the last resort. There was nothing about trophy in this.

          I am also personally against trophy hunting, but am for using hunters to control pests. If folks want to hunt something that would be useful for all, they should take their aim at feral pigs. They are really something that causes damage. Bu

        • "You are equating giving someone a ride without a license to murdering your neighbor's dog?"

          In the US, if we want the neighbor's dog killed, we call the police.

    • Regulation was in response to a glut of taxi drivers, not a dearth of them.

    • nice narrative you've got there. It'd be a real shame if some reality got dropped on it...

      This isn't about competition. It's about removing the protections employees have been afforded and treating folks who are very plainly not contractors as contractors. In most countries the gov't imposed costs on employment to make sure employees (who were largely powerless) weren't abused. It's sorta like how you can never sell yourself into slavery in fairly because if you're making that kind of deal you're already
      • by laird ( 2705 )

        Wow, that's not at all how taxi companies work. The way they work is that they have a local monopoly, and they use the law to eliminate competition and to regulate pricing so they don't have any price or quality competition.

        It's not at all for the benefit of drivers. Drivers for taxi companies take all of the financial risk - they have to pay hundreds of dollars a day to be allowed to drive the car, hoping that they'll collect enough fares to pay off the dispatcher and then, if they are lucky, make a profit

    • Maybe, licensing taxies was a good idea at some point.

      And they still are.

      You might want to go and actually live in a place where licenses on taxis isn't enforced. I can suggest a few (Phuket, Thailand is a good one). Taxi gangs are so powerful there, they've stopped any attempt at getting public transport in many towns and villages, in many cases by beating up the drivers whenever a Baht Bus service is started. They've divvied up turf and will happily fight with each other over it, every Tuk Tuk drive

      • Uhhh ... when the gangs and corruption are out-of-control, does the business model really matter? Isn't the problem that the areas are controlled by violent gangs? It seems you have reversed cause and effect.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @12:59PM (#50280149)
    How about booking one, then questioning the driver?

    I'm a little confused too, aren't Uber drivers using their own cars? Is there something that is supposed to distinguish the car from any other car?
    • doh you beat me to it. just order an uber and it will show up at the police station! further, i've found the drivers to be pretty chatty and open. they could just take uber rides different places and talk to drivers that way. they may be surprised at how pleasant the rides are, how convenient the service is, and how inexpensive they are compared to cabs. maybe police should be talking to cabbies to figure out why they can't replicate uber's convenience and customer experience?

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        Probably better to book it away from the police station, give a destination address that's basically at the police station, and if questioning while driving leads to a need to continue questioning, take the driver inside to interview them in an official capacity.
  • I spotted one, dialed 911, and a very confusing conversation occurred between myself and the Dallas Police Department.
  • Don't think you should be interrogating people... before you decide if it's illegal or not (presumably under existing laws).

  • by Jodka ( 520060 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @01:25PM (#50280295)

    from the /. summary:

    The police in Helsinki, Finland has announced in a tweet that if you see someone driving Uber car, you should call 911 (or actually, 112 in Finland).

    from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    The Road to Serfdom is a book written by the Austrian-born economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek (1899–1992) between 1940–1943, in which he "[warns] of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning."[1] He further argues that the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, the tyranny of a dictator, and the serfdom of the individual.

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      That's so true, before the 20th century when regulations became common there were no serfs. Look at Czarist Russia, the common people were so free, or America in the mid 19th century, slaves rather then surfs along with workers stuck getting paid in script that could only be spent at the company store. We can even go back further to the 14th century when the black death empowered the working class due to the shortage of labour and how serfdom disappeared thanks to the lack of regulations.
      The rich left to th

    • to runaway power that mega corps and the 1% have? Gov't is a tool, like fire or a gun. It's a dangerous tool, but there are lots of dangerous tools. If you don't use them someone else will (to your detriment).

      The 1% have shown they have no fear of large, central governments. They'll use their wealth and power to make one that suits their needs at your expense. So I ask you, what are you going to do about it? I really am asking. I've never once heard a convincing response, or even something that didn't s
      • The 1% have shown they have no fear of large, central governments. They'll use their wealth and power to make one that suits their needs at your expense. So I ask you, what are you going to do about it?

        You mean, how do we fix it? There's no point in even trying until more of the population becomes aware that this is what is actually happening, and that they have a better chance to win the lottery than to break into the handjob circle of generationally rich bastards through hard work. And there's no point in explaining that as long as they think they're likely to win the lottery.

        Seriously, though, convincing people that the two-party system is effectively a one-party system would be a big step in the right

  • by WPIDalamar ( 122110 ) on Sunday August 09, 2015 @01:27PM (#50280313) Homepage

    Couldn't the police just use the app?

  • Obviously they should also call when seeing taxis, since any reasonable study will need baseline data.

  • The real headline here is that Finland has police.

    • Well, yeah, it is kind of shocking to compare crime between the US and Finland: http://www.nationmaster.com/co... [nationmaster.com]

      • Well, yeah, it is kind of shocking to compare crime between the US and Finland: http://www.nationmaster.com/co... [nationmaster.com]

        The molecules which make up all objects, including criminals, move substantially slower when it's cold as hell.

        • The molecules which make up all objects, including criminals, move substantially slower when it's cold as hell.

          And that's why we were so late to the game with digital cell phones and Free operating systems.

          • I've been to Finland, and I think it's a great place with great people. Good hockey. Also, very hard to spell names.

            I was there in May, last year.

  • Wait, do I actually have to be in Finland?

    Never mind.
    • The original article only said you should call 112 (the general emergency number in all EU). I don't know where that would go where you live, maybe you should just try it.

The decision doesn't have to be logical; it was unanimous.

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