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San Francisco Bans Parking Spot Auctioning App

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the no-tech-for-you dept.

Cellphones 404

A couple months ago, we discussed a new phone app being used in San Francisco to auction off parking spaces to the highest bidder. The city has now ordered the app makers to cease and desist, and threatened motorists with a $300 fine for each transaction. City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, Technology has given rise to many laudable innovations in how we live and work -- and Monkey Parking is not one of them. 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. Worst of all, it encourages drivers to use their mobile devices unsafely — to engage in online bidding wars while driving. People are free to rent out their own private driveways and garage spaces should they choose to do so. But we will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit.

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Communism (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307659)

Banning this is communism!
This is the free market at work.

Re:Communism (2, Funny)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 2 months ago | (#47307677)

Parking spots are the means of production?
I don't think so.

Re:Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308013)

if they're privately owned parking spots then this should be allowed, if they're auctioning off street parking and other various public parking spots then they should be fined

Re:Communism (4, Informative)

tsqr (808554) | about 2 months ago | (#47308037)

if they're privately owned parking spots then this should be allowed

From TFS: "People are free to rent out their own private driveways and garage spaces should they choose to do so."

Re:Communism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308231)

Actually, I bet if there was a large enough movement to do this (perhaps something app-assisted), the city of SF would also put a stop to it.

Inevitable end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307669)

Hey, I've got an app that for $300 you can park anywhere in san francisco! Even someone else's driveway! For $3000 we'll even sell you parking on the bridge!

Re:Inevitable end (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 2 months ago | (#47307811)

Hey, I've got an app that for $300 you can park anywhere in san francisco! Even someone else's driveway! For $3000 we'll even sell you parking on the bridge!

Good point.

It works when money is no object, and if that's the case, only the city collects. Never move in on the government's racquet - its like moving in on a mobster's racquet - never profitable for long.

Re:Inevitable end (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307873)

It works when money is no object, and if that's the case, only the city collects. Never move in on the government's racquet - its like moving in on a mobster's racquet - never profitable for long.

Wait, so the government and the mob are into badminton, now?

Re:Inevitable end (2)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 2 months ago | (#47307939)

Oops... I meant croquet.

Gotta agree with it being illegal (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307695)

It's based on holding public space hostage.

Re:Gotta agree with it being illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307801)

The city can take it to court.

Re:Gotta agree with it being illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307893)

It is based on ticket scalping. Buy up the tickets, then sell them again at a higher price. We already know that is illegal in most places. This is the same thing, but with a physical resource. It is never even owned by the scalper - they just demand money to move their car out of the damn way. It is ridiculous to think it could stay legal to just insert scammers into the public parking process to extract money from it.

Re:Gotta agree with it being illegal (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307947)

Scalping is legal practically anywhere these days (except typically on the premises for the event). Wrigley field has legalized scalping. Last time I was in Atlanta, they had a line drawn a few hundred yards from the stadium at which point it was legal to scalp tickets. Have you heard of Stubhub? The secondary market is huge. Regardless, it's nothing like that. Event tickets are not public property.

Re:Gotta agree with it being illegal (1, Troll)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47308113)

Gotta agree with it being illegal

It's based on holding public space hostage.

No, I don't have to agree with either one.

You are not "buying or selling" a parking spot. You are buying and selling information about where that parking spot is. Those are two VERY different things.

Quote TFA:

San Francisco's Police Code that specifically prohibits individuals and companies from buying, selling or leasing public on-street parking. Police Code section 63(c) further provides that scofflaws -- including drivers who "enter into a lease, rental agreement or contract of any kind" for public parking spots...

The law is very clearly intended to prevent people from "renting" out their favorite parking spot for money, and physically holding them "hostage", as you say.

But that isn't what this app does. It auctions off information about where an available parking space is. You aren't selling the parking space. You're selling the information.

Having said that, I grant that it could be used in ways that are likely illegal... like holding the spot for the person who won the auction. Then you might be said to be actually holding it hostage. But that would mean you -- not the winner of the auction -- were breaking the law. And it would be hard to prove. You fed the meter properly, you're having lunch. Big deal. In order to prove a violation you'd have to prove intent, which is seldom easy.

IANAL but I am familiar with some aspects of law. So let's be clear: the auctioning of information about parking spaces is not illegal. If SF tries to claim it is, they have a long, Lombard-Street-steep hill to climb, and they'd probably lose in the long run.

Re:Gotta agree with it being illegal (0)

cygnwolf (601176) | about 2 months ago | (#47308355)

Say... that's a nice Fig Leaf you're holding there...

Re:Gotta agree with it being illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308373)

In order to prove a violation you'd have to prove intent, which is seldom easy.

Maybe using this app is evidence of intent?

Re:Gotta agree with it being illegal (4, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47308437)

But that would mean you -- not the winner of the auction -- were breaking the law. And it would be hard to prove. You fed the meter properly, you're having lunch. Big deal. In order to prove a violation you'd have to prove intent, which is seldom easy.

You're kidding, right? As soon as you use the app you've proven intent. You can't go online and say "I'll sell this space to the highest bidder" and then claim you didn't intend to sell the space to the highest bidder. That's just nuts.

Having said that, I grant that it could be used in ways that are likely illegal... like holding the spot for the person who won the auction.

That's the intent of the service. How long do you think such a service would last if all it did was sell "information" about where someone was leaving a parking spot? The buyer would show up and someone who didn't pay would have already taken it. If it is truly a busy area, then there are going to be people who are watching everyone who approaches any parked car like a hawk, and unless your buyer was also doing that (which defeats the reason to buy the information) he's not going to get an honestly vacated space.

Why would anyone in their right mind bid on "information" that everyone in within fifty feet of the seller can see for himself, and would be there to take advantage of long before any auction could take place, much less the winner driving to the location to accept his prize? The information is worthless within 30 seconds of it appearing; it's only the physical space that makes it valuable.

So much for that idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307703)

Another venture capital fail. Back to the unemployment office for the staff and their stock options...

Re:So much for that idea... (3, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47307841)

It still has some use, but they're just not doing it right. The City admitted that people can rent out their driveways or private garages as parking spaces, so I could easily see a revision of this app that works sort of like Uber but for parking spaces.

People who have parking spaces to spare (apartment blocks, businesses, private homeowners) sell their driveways or parking lots as parking spaces. The people buying pay the property owner a given amount, and a percentage of that comes back to the company as a "finder's fee". You could even have businesses buy parking spaces in people's driveways nearby that are only valid for that business, ie;

Business A has a parking lot that isn't big enough to meet customer capacity at peak hours. They're in a position that would make it very difficult to expand their parking ,but there are nearby homes that have large, unused driveways. Business A can rent some of those driveways and mark them as specifically for use for their customers, so that their customers now have a place to park during peak hours.

I bet you could still make some pretty good money with it, since I'm sure apartment owners would love to get money for letting people use spaces that would otherwise go unused. The only real problem would be enforcement, but I'm sure there's some way around that.

Re:So much for that idea... (2)

laie_techie (883464) | about 2 months ago | (#47308073)

I lived in a town home in a college town. Our landlord rented our parking lot out during football games. The landlords made big bucks, but residents had to prove they lived there in order to avoid the parking fee.

Re:So much for that idea... (2)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47308249)

If you have a parking space for renting there, I'm pretty sure that would be illegal. Same if they decided to rent your bedroom to a tourist as a B&B. Your rental agreement provided you with your place (I'm guessing an apartment) and a parking spot. The landlord is not able to then legally rent out to someone else what you are already renting.
ianal, but damn, there are some things that are pretty bloody obvious and well documented to even the public.

They hate our freedom (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 2 months ago | (#47307715)

Specific practices like driver using phone while driving, or curb parking time limits can certainly be regulated. But not the basic fact of people exchanging money for information. Dislike it all you want, but people have freedom to do as they want.

Re:They hate our freedom (4, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 months ago | (#47307737)

It occurs to me that knowing where a parking space is available would reduce time spent driving around, itself reducing pollution, excess expenditure on additional fuel, the clogging of streets, and other issues associated with tons of traffic driving in circles throughout the city.

These people are providing the city the great and valuable service of a functional smart parking grid operating when parking congestion is high.

Re: They hate our freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307813)

I use a network of raspberry pi around the city that provide street views of places I park.

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307827)

most likely someone will hire illegals to hold the spots and take the money. and people will be forced to pay ridiculous amounts of money just to park at home for the night

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307881)

Already happening.

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307849)

These people are providing the city the great and valuable service

haha. There will be people spending all day occupying good spots for the sole purpose of selling them to the highest bidder... It's an awful solution. The city needs to build more parking garages, it's insane that they don't.

Re:They hate our freedom (2)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about 2 months ago | (#47308047)

These people are providing the city the great and valuable service of a functional smart parking grid operating when parking congestion is high.

And all they need to accomplish this great service is sell rights to property they don't own. I wonder how much cell reception in your neighborhood would improve if I sold verizon the rights to demolish your house and put a cell tower in it's place?

Re:They hate our freedom (5, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 months ago | (#47308199)

These people are providing the city the great and valuable service of a functional smart parking grid operating when parking congestion is high.

There seems to be an unwritten premise behind your claim that the space would be unused if it were not for this app. In fact, the reverse is true -- likely the driver "selling" the space will remain in place longer than necesssary so that he/she can sell the parking space. Without the ability to sell a space, it will be vacated more quickly and then immediately filled by another driver who happens to be driving by (because there is a shortage of parking).

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308351)

Correct. It's good for the environment so the Republicans hate it. That's why they banned it. That, and control. Their kind wants to control everything.

Re:They hate our freedom (3, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 months ago | (#47308359)

No, the city already has parking motion detectors on their parking meters that can detect when a street parking space is vacated and the city also makes available a free real-time api that third party developers can use for republishing that information (for free, or even for a profit if those third party desire). There are already several apps on the market that do this (that the city has no problem with)

What this particular app encouraged was to keep parking spaces occupied, until a particular ransom was paid. This meant that cars with disabled placards (which are not required to pay anything, and not required to move by a certain time) would have the incentive to hold a parking space indefinitely until they got paid. And this also meant that some business storefront owners could hold spaces by placing junk/furniture/pots of flowers on a parking space, so that no other car could pull into it unless they got paid off as well.

Unfortunately, holding parking spaces illegally is already a common practice in San Francisco (even before that mobile application came on the market). Regularly, business owners are caught painting the curb of their sidewalks in front of their store with green, yellow, or red, without having the proper city permits to do so (those illegal markings can be distinguished because they're not stamped with the usual SFPD and the red markings around storefronts/private driveways usually extend far more than they're supposed to).

Re:They hate our freedom (5, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 months ago | (#47307749)

But not the basic fact of people exchanging money for information.

It falls back to 'holding a public space hostage' the moment the seller stays in his spot any longer than he would have without the application in order to get said money/allow the buyer the spot. I believe that the application amounts to being worthless if the seller doesn't hold the space for the buyer, because in my experience somebody will pull into the spot less than a minute later without any intervention.

This leads to less efficient use of space due to lingering, which is what the city wants to avoid.

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307879)

The accuser has the burden of proof.

This amounts to the city trying to extort money out of people. In short, the city is just mad they don't get a piece of the pie.

Coercion is a crime, and the city official in making such threats is not in performance of his duty, but is in comission of a crime.

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 2 months ago | (#47307933)

On the subject of holding public spaces hostage, I wonder what you think of occupy movement and all the other protests, which are especially common in San Francisco?

Practically speaking, if parking spaces are popular, seller will not have to hold them for long. Since the buyer also has the app installed, he/she will have incentive to leave sooner, during prime time, to make the money back.

Re:They hate our freedom (2)

Yebyen (59663) | about 2 months ago | (#47308049)

You think the same people are both buying and selling spaces? I envision a person driving around looking for spaces all day and pulling into them, bringing up the app on their way back from the newsstand to re-sell the space as soon as they have secured one for free/with some delay so as to promote some appearance of not being a plain old squatter abusing the commons and rent-seeking with free public resources. A second person with more money than time enables him by installing the app and buying the space from him, because it's easier than driving around looking for their own space during prime-time parking hours. Especially now that we have this app!

At no point did I imagine anyone buying a space who has enough time to wait around for someone else to buy it back from them later.

Re:They hate our freedom (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 months ago | (#47308085)

I wonder what you think of occupy movement and all the other protests, which are especially common in San Francisco?

Complicated. Keep in mind that the situations varied by different locations. Still, on average I believe that they enjoy more protection simply by being explicitly political/non-monetary in nature. For that matter they probably had those locations more highly populated/used than normal.

Where I start drawing the line is where they start causing damage.

Since the buyer also has the app installed, he/she will have incentive to leave sooner, during prime time, to make the money back.

It also gives incentive to be a professional parking-keeper if the rates are high enough. Drive around looking for a spot. Take it, immediately list & sell. Move on and find another. Hell, it could probably be done on foot or scooter.

Re:They hate our freedom (4, Insightful)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 2 months ago | (#47308263)

I pay taxes that are used to build and maintain roads including public parking, why on earth would I allow a third party to make money off public parking if it's not re-invested into the road system (hopefully to address problems with parking).

Re:They hate our freedom (2)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 months ago | (#47308361)

As long as voters can still vote and elections aren't terribly rigged/diebolded, I don't really consider protests that hold public spaces hostage a good thing. It's fine if they rented out a public space (stadium or field) for their "event".

If you want to protest publicly you could wear a particular hat, shirt, colored item, etc as a sign of protest and move about without preventing others from going about their normal daily lives. Causing massive disruption does not endear me to your cause. If you let random bunch of people start disrupting stuff, you cause problems for everyone else - and another bunch of people might start to do similar or _worse_ things if they disagree with the first bunch.

There are additional/alternative ways of communicating and spreading your message. Many people claim social media is useless -tweets, facebook shares, etc. But there are a number of governments that don't think so: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
And looking at various "campaigns" social media can actually be useful.

It's a different case if people don't have other options- they can't vote and communications are blocked/censored.

Re:They hate our freedom (2, Insightful)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 2 months ago | (#47308043)

Who's going to prevent the fistfights when someone spots you getting into your car and waits for you to leave the space - and you just sit there. If I'm waiting for you to move and somebody else pulls up who insists on taking the space 'because he paid for it', it's not going to be pretty.

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

fulldecent (598482) | about 2 months ago | (#47308111)

And yes, this is the correct way to deter behavior. Rather than another cease and desist which is probably based on no more legal authority than "I'm wearing a badge"

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

bluegutang (2814641) | about 2 months ago | (#47308283)

The space is not "public" once it is rented to the current occupant of the spot! And lingering may be inefficient, but so is circling the block for half an hour looking for a spot.

If efficiency is really the goal, then the city of SF should raise the fee for parking to a market rate. But I suspect that certain interest groups would oppose that...

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47308501)

If efficiency is really the goal, then the city of SF should raise the fee for parking to a market rate. But I suspect that certain interest groups would oppose that...

Yes, like the public who pay taxes that support the system and think that public resources should be available to the people who pay to create them at cost and not some inflated rate.

You want inflated parking rates and profit, buy some land and make it a private parking lot.

Re:They hate our freedom (3, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 2 months ago | (#47307759)

"People have the freedom to do as they want."

Your opinion will change when you grow up.

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308487)

No, he'll still be free to do as he wants, he'll just want to do different things. What on earth does age have to do with doing what you want?

Re:They hate our freedom (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307779)

You completely missed the point.

People would deliberately find prime parking places and park there, then use the app to get money to relenquish their parking spot. It turned a public resource, something paid for by tax dollars, into something you had to pay an individual to get access to.

It's the same as domain name squatting. It was a completely fucked up and greedy concept.

Please use your brain and actually think about things before posting.

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307823)

But not the basic fact of people exchanging money for information.

Only when the government receives a cut of the transaction will such behavior be "legally" approved.

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

Kkloe (2751395) | about 2 months ago | (#47307891)

you have had your freedom to vote for the government, you have had your freedom to vote for those who makes laws, you have had your freedom to vote for the people in charge of the city, now by your freedom they have made it illegal, in practice you have made this happen with your freedom

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47307903)

Seems to me they're banning the sale of something you don't own, which sounds a lot like stealing.

Re:They hate our freedom (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47308083)

I think stealing is a little incorrect here.

I am currently legally occupying a place, because I've paid the parking meter or am still within the period I can be parked for free.

What I'm selling you is the information that, for the next 20 minutes, the opportunity for you to get dibs on legally occupying the same space is up for grabs.

Now, understandably, if you had a whole bunch of people who camped out on these spots first thing in the morning and sold the spot to the highest bidder then nobody could ever find anything on their own. Because then as soon as they sell a spot they start looking for new ones and keep doing it all day long.

But, as far as selling things you don't own ... well, companies trade in your personal information all the time. Some of us disagree that they 'own' it, they've just laid claim to it.

So, how is me selling the location of a parking spot I can make available to you any different than Google and Facebook exploiting your personal information to make money?

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308219)

The only problem with this system which is brought up in the article is it can be abused.

I could quit my job and instead just drive around finding empty parking spots, park and then post that I have a spot for sale. Sell that spot and drive to the next.

In fact, I think I'll move across the country to SF now!

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 months ago | (#47308463)

It's more like hoarding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

A feature of hoarding is that it leads to an inefficient distribution of scarce resources, making the scarcity even more of a problem

It's in the interests of the city to have parking spaces that are used for only as long as they are needed.

Allowing this "auctioning" thing causes parking spaces to be held longer than otherwise just so that someone can try to make money from it.

There is no significant increase in efficiency if parking spaces are in great demand - the moment you leave your spot, someone else is likely to take it. And even if there is some inefficiency there are other ways of solving it without this auctioning.

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307905)

. Dislike it all you want, but people have freedom to do as they want.

"Toto... I don't think we're in Kansas anymore....."

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 months ago | (#47307941)

Specific practices like driver using phone while driving, or curb parking time limits can certainly be regulated. But not the basic fact of people exchanging money for information. Dislike it all you want, but people have freedom to do as they want.

They aren't making the exchange of info illegal. You can still say "For $30 I'll tell you where a perking spot is.." it's the "and I'll hold it for you until you arrive ..." that is illegal. I think the city is justified in this position.

Re:They hate our freedom (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 2 months ago | (#47308177)

They aren't making the exchange of info illegal. You can still say "For $30 I'll tell you where a perking spot is.." it's the "and I'll hold it for you until you arrive ..." that is illegal. I think the city is justified in this position.

Absolutely. People cannot sell things they do not own. That is public space they are trying to sell.

And before some wag tries to write "If it's public space, I own it.

I suggest that person try to build a house there.

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 months ago | (#47307965)

But not the basic fact of people exchanging money for information. Dislike it all you want, but people have freedom to do as they want.

There was already a law on the books against what this company is trying to do.

Have you considered that there might actually be a valid use-case for such a law?

Re:They hate our freedom (3, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 months ago | (#47308015)

Specific practices like driver using phone while driving, or curb parking time limits can certainly be regulated. But not the basic fact of people exchanging money for information. Dislike it all you want, but people have freedom to do as they want.

It is illegal to exchange money for all kinds of information. Credit card and Social Security numbers, for example. Insider trading [sec.gov] , for another. It continually amazes me the degree to which crackpot libertarian ideology is so consistently blind to extremely common legal practice. Do you people spend all of your time in the basement?

Furthermore, a law banning the parking app would be trivial to enforce. Just have police answer the ads, find the douchebag who is blocking the spot in order to charge for it, tow their car, and give them a nice big ticket. Can't happen soon enough.

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47308321)

I hadn't thought of that yet, but it would totally put a damper on that kind of b.s., even more so if they confiscated the car and phone. (Evidence and all that.)
Though to be honest, I'm morally opposed to confiscation with no intent to return to the proper owners after evidentiary needs are met.

Re:They hate our freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308089)

Specific practices like driver using phone while driving, or curb parking time limits can certainly be regulated. But not the basic fact of people exchanging money for information. Dislike it all you want, but people have freedom to do as they want.

What?

How is this fundamentally any different from blocking a street and only moving when you get paid enough money?

Why the hell does one private person get to sell access to public property?

Re:They hate our freedom (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 2 months ago | (#47308353)

Dislike it all you want, but people have freedom to do as they want.

'Free country' doesn't mean what you think it means.

Eg:
Free Speech Zone [wikipedia.org]

Good luck proving this in a court of law... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307739)

I can see this type of service continuing on.

1: Parking spaces are in demand.
2: People are willing to pay cash for one.
3: Other people want money.

All that needs to happen is that the server gets moved offshore, and the app be made as a Web app so it survives being pulled from Apple's store.

I remember this exact same thing happening at a place I worked at when in college. They were such sticklers about being on time for shift that a second late on the phones meant a six month denial of promotions, and being late for any reason three times is an automatic termination. So, people from the neighborhood would fill this place's parking lot up about an hour before shift changed and demand cash... and the employees of this firm would pony up to a C-note in order to get a place, drive a car about a half mile from the office and park in a seedy neighborhood, or be late and stuck on the phones for another half-year with a freeze on raises.

I applaud SF banning this app, but in reality, it won't help, and this is just the start of it. I won't be surprised to see a black market for parking spaces, with people sitting for hours to "sell" theirs, happening soon. Especially home games in university towns or other places where people go for an event.

Re:Good luck proving this in a court of law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307799)

or the SF cops will answer the ads to buy a spot with an arrest and/or fine of the person holding it. and how do you make money waiting for hours to "sell" a parking spot? enough money to pay the bills

Re:Good luck proving this in a court of law... (1)

Kkloe (2751395) | about 2 months ago | (#47308007)

the poor sod who will get fined/arrested will probably be just a man\woman who cant get any money in other way, he has just been told by someone by the phone to be there and let x have the sport when he comes around

Re:Good luck proving this in a court of law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308025)

I'm glad there's no real crimes going on in SF that the cops have time for this.

Re:Good luck proving this in a court of law... (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#47308259)

All that needs to happen is that the server gets moved offshore, and the app be made as a Web app so it survives being pulled from Apple's store.

That protects... the web server. It doesn't protect the guy on the street. And catching them is like shooting fish in a barrel.
 

I won't be surprised to see a black market for parking spaces, with people sitting for hours to "sell" theirs, happening soon.

Already protected against by signs/laws prohibiting parking for more than 'x' hours and the enforcement thereof.

Re:Good luck proving this in a court of law... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 months ago | (#47308293)

All that needs to happen is that the server gets moved offshore, and the app be made as a Web app so it survives being pulled from Apple's store.

The problem with the "just move the server offshore" answer is that the system depends on having a local actor -- the person blocking the parking space until the buyer shows up. You can't outsource or offshore that part of the process.

The real problem: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307757)

San Francisco was not getting a cut of the action.

Hostage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307765)

Does this mean I can run over those douchebags that stand in a space in an attempt to hold it for someone else?

Is it also illegal.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307767)

So it is also illegal to offer somebody money, in person, to let you know when they leave their spot so you can park closer? Technically speaking, you're not paying for the "public" spot, you're paying for the opportunity to park in a more convenient location for a period of time, at which point you leave.

Re:Is it also illegal.. (2)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 months ago | (#47307927)

So it is also illegal to offer somebody money, in person, to let you know when they leave their spot so you can park closer? Technically speaking, you're not paying for the "public" spot, you're paying for the opportunity to park in a more convenient location for a period of time, at which point you leave.

No, it's illegal to squat on a public parking space and demand money to move. Get the difference?

Re:Is it also illegal.. (2)

Maxwell (13985) | about 2 months ago | (#47308055)

To a 3rd party observer there is no difference. Person A gives money to Person B who moves their car so A can take their spot. How are you going to prove B would have moved earlier if not for A? Reading their mind?

Re:Is it also illegal.. (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 2 months ago | (#47308167)

How are you going to prove B would have moved earlier if not for A? Reading their mind?

Um, they advertised the space on the app?

Re:Is it also illegal.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308449)

I gave you "+1 Insightful" but I wanted to give you "+1 Captain Obvious" =)

Re:Is it also illegal.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308429)

To a 3rd party observer there is no difference. Person A gives money to Person B who moves their car so A can take their spot. How are you going to prove B would have moved earlier if not for A? Reading their mind?

By a cop down the block offering to buy the space, and seeing that the guy waited in his car for a minute until the app told him the transaction was complete?

NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307773)

First, it's not a DCMA issue so their orders do not have the weight of law.
Second, only a court can levy a fine, and only if there is a violation of law.

This is yet another example, more proof of government overreach.

May be a freedom of speech issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307785)

I think this may fall under the free exchange of information (about parking places in this case) that the courts found was legal when it came to the "flash your headlights to indicate a cop hiding behind the truck" thing. It's not up to the government to tell people what they can share or how much the information costs. Of course, I presume it's the information that's being bidded on, not the space itself - after all, only the government that we fund with our taxes can be insolent enough to rent public property to the public that owns it.

Anyone who knows street parking in San Francisco (2, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | about 2 months ago | (#47307869)

Will understand that this app is a solution, not a problem. It's much safer to drive to a parking spot that you know will be available and sufficient to fit into than circling blocks for half an hour while paying more attention to the curb than traffic and pedestrians. It's city's fault for not designing streets for both residents and expected number of visitors. They shouldn't scapegoat the app for providing a service that people want.

Re:Anyone who knows street parking in San Francisc (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47307957)

You're being optimistic - I park on the street in San Francisco fairly regularly - I much prefer paying for parking in a garage. This incentivizes people occupying desirable spots for the sole purpose of reselling them, which will lead to hard to park areas becoming even worse. The city needs to build more garages.

Re:Anyone who knows street parking in San Francisc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308033)

Anyone who drives in San Francisco is a masochist and probably a moron, fixed that for you.

My workaround (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308185)

Whenever I have lived in a city, I use public transportation.

I find cars to be such a burden - financially (payments, taxes, insurance, maintenance) and the hassles of parking, registration, maintenance, etc ...

The automobile gives the illusion of freedom while making us a slave to the insurance, banker, and tax man/government.

When I think about it, I'd be more than happy to be taxed a bit more and have great European style mass transit than a car.

Also, it's a regressive expense. Meaning, automobile costs - even if you have the cheapest shitbox you can find - is still a much larger portion of a poor person's budget than a rich person who has the top of the line Mercedes or BMW.

And then there's the environmental: Autos are rolling toxic waste dumps. Antifreeze, oil, gas and all the solvents necessary in their making and mainenance. And of course the air pollution.

Then there's the political. Our addiction to the automobile and the petroleum has financed evil people with petro-dollars.

Less face it, the automobile is one of the most evil creations of man.

Re:Anyone who knows street parking in San Francisc (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308281)

You are wrong. The car that would have taken the spot the instant it was available is now circling the block for half an hour instead of the person who used the app. And don't forget that using the app means a parked person stays in the spot longer than normal, which adds to the parking problem. It is bad in every possible way.

Re:Anyone who knows street parking in San Francisc (3, Funny)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#47308287)

It's city's fault for not designing streets for both residents and expected number of visitors.

Yes - damn the city planners of the 1870's for not anticipating the conditions of 2014.

Enforceable ? (4, Insightful)

markus_baertschi (259069) | about 2 months ago | (#47307901)

The company is based in Italy and does not target San Francisco specifically. I don't think San Francisco has standing to sue them.

Re:Enforceable ? (4, Interesting)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 2 months ago | (#47308011)

Is the money collected in person? Or does the spot holder wait for a specific license plate?
Either way, a sting operation should be easy enough to set up. The spots are physically
in SF so I don't think they can ban the app but they can certainly fine people for using this app
or any other method to require money in order vacate a spot.

Re:Enforceable ? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47308057)

Plenty of standing to sue them, and win a default judgement since nobody will show up.

Not so likely to collect on that judgement, however.

Against whom? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308305)

They may not be able to do much to the company if it has no US assets, but they can certainly monitor the parking spots up for sale and catch people in the act.

This is painful to watch (1)

Copid (137416) | about 2 months ago | (#47307977)

They have the SF Park system with smart meters. They've shut down the sensors but are still doing some congestion pricing. If they just turned the sensors back on and continued to roll out smart meters to the whole city, this app would become a non-issue. The fact that it exists at all is simply an indication that parking spaces aren't priced correctly. SF Park was a huge success. They just need to keep pushing it.

Re:This is painful to watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308475)

Public parking is a public service and needs to be affordable to the general public, even if that means that you may have to search for a spot for a while. Public parking that is priced at market rates is, well, not public parking.

Shows that parking spaces are mispriced (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 2 months ago | (#47307981)

The fact that this app exists means that parking spaces are mispriced. If they were priced correctly, there wouldn't be a black market for them.

Re:Shows that parking spaces are mispriced (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308153)

For $20 I'll move my car out of the street in front of your driveway. If you don't like it, clearly your driveway isn't priced correctly.

Actually, I'm not even sure how to torture an analogy enough to make your comment relevant to this discussion. It's against city law to hold a parking spot for someone else, here's an app that encourages you to hold a parking lot for someone else.

Re:Shows that parking spaces are mispriced (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 months ago | (#47308319)

If you park your car in front of my drive way blocking it I'll call a wrecker and have it hauled off, or just wrap my tow chain around an axle and drag it out of the way with my Jeep in 4 low since preventing access to one's own property is illegal in my state.

Re:Shows that parking spaces are mispriced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308425)

For $20 I'll move my car out of the street in front of your driveway. If you don't like it, clearly your driveway isn't priced correctly.

Sounds like you want a beat down.

I'm sure someone will accommodate your desire, sooner or
later, and hopefully it will be sooner.

Free lottery weighted by karma? (2)

OGmofo (189475) | about 2 months ago | (#47308041)

One massive problem with scarce parking and no smart system to distribute it is that a lot of vehicles spend a lot of time driving in circles looking/waiting for a spot to turn over. If there were a system that was essentially a free lottery, it could avoid a lot of wasted time and pollution. You'd have to incentivize the occupant somehow though.

something like this:

1. Occupant is about to leave and sends an alert of near term availability.
2. N subscribers get the alert and enter the lottery, lottery executes, winner is selected, and winner is notified that they get the spot, no charge. The lottery could be weighted by karma, say the number of times that lottery participant has yielded a spot to others.
3. Occupant yields their spot to winner, and receives parking karma for next lotto.
4. Society benefits by less traffic, pollution.

subject (1, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47308059)

I've yet to see downtown parking in any city that wasn't already predatory and a scam. Usually, however, that's perpetrated by the city, not some app.

The city intentionally zones and permits businesses to concentrate tax revenue within a small area.
Buildings get taller, roads get narrower...
Then the city complains about congestion, charges insane fees for parking, trys to charge to even bring a car downtown.
I know! Bycycles will fix it! So they take away the parking lane and turn it into a bike lane... Now the bike racks are full. Better start charging for bike parking to!

These issues are directly caused by the city governments themselves. I've no sympathy at all for them. Stop concentrating population density, let it spread out. I know you get a lot of tax revenue because of it. But how much is it costing?

Law (1)

fulldecent (598482) | about 2 months ago | (#47308087)

That sounds like a great response from the police...

And what exact public law is being broken now?

Something more defensible... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 months ago | (#47308095)

I wonder if someone could aggregate and sell realtime information about empty parking spaces.

It's not as powerful (or sleazy) as holding parking spaces ransom, but it's probably a lot harder for SF to fight, due to First Amendment issues.

Can't make this stuff up (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 2 months ago | (#47308135)

City parking authority claims the moral high ground?

Common Sense & Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308155)

So much misuse of Technology has been due to simple lack of common sense. This is absurd, why can companies not see legal issues before going public? Even consideration of the golden rule would help. The point in this example could apply in general terms to many oops due to not considering even local & international laws. Privacy and various freedoms are taken away without consideration of rights of individuals etc. Recent example in US is review of companies not allowing general public to take pictures or video while common areas are being videoed by the company. This places undue burden on consumers when litigation happens due to lack of video evidence of incident. Simple common sense would evade the possibilities of mass lawsuits due to these policies. C'mon companies, this waste of money hurts everyone and cuts productivity while adding costs. How much will San-Francisco spend on this incident, & how much will companies and users spend as well while tying everything up in knots for how long???

Why not fix the parking situation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308303)

Instead of banning the band-aid, why not actually fix the wound?

Government regulates those who lack self control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47308375)

Normally I am against government interference, but in this case the government is
stepping in because there are assholes trying to sell things they DO NOT OWN,
and that is wrong and these assholes deserve to be punished.

Conference room app (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47308377)

1. Reserve all the conference rooms in the building for the next 10 years
2. Build an app to auction conference rooms
3. $$$ Profit!!!! $$$

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