Tech winner & loser of the week

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

Tech winner & loser of the week

Who's up and who's down in tech this week?
March 13, 2020

Brace yourselves: City & State’s Winners & Losers is coming to First Read Tech. In a new feature, we’ll be identifying one winner and loser at the intersection of New York technology, politics and policy. Decisions made by lawmakers and actions taken by executives of tech companies never exist in a vacuum – their effects ripple out to civilians, workers and, yes, the market. In City & State tradition, First Read Tech will be keeping tabs on which influential people are up and which are down. Who’s got political capital to spend, and who’s fallen a few steps behind? Politics and technology are not always a laughing matter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with it. 

WINNER: Dara Khosrowshahi – As goes Uber, so goes the rest of the gig economy. Amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, the ride-hailing giant became one of the first major gig economy companies to offer compensation to any drivers diagnosed with coronavirus or quarantined under order of a public health authority, paying for up to 14 days of missed pay. Lyft and others quickly followed suit, announcing compensation plans for their own workers. Even so, critics say the measures come up short, arguing that nothing demonstrates the need to provide labor protections like a global pandemic. Some of those critics would like to see Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and his buddies start by treating their independent contractor drivers as employees.

LOSER: Bill de Blasio – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his staff appear to have taken a liking to Signal, the messaging app that can be set to have messages disappear automatically – and good government groups are none too happy about it. The de Blasio administration came under fire over the issue again this week, as a coalition of good government groups called on de Blasio to delete the app, saying that disappearing messages won’t be recoverable, even though electronic communications about city business have to comply with Freedom of Information Law and archiving requirements. The de Blasio-Signal love affair has been picked up for a few news cycles now, but we’d venture that the mayor has more pressing things on his mind – like the city’s recently declared state of emergency. 

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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