Wednesday, 3 September 2014

"Telephones banned in Germany by Frankfurt court"

From the BBC:

A court in Frankfurt has found that telephones are being used to arrange car-share agreements involving drivers lacking the necessary legal permits to operate under German law and has banned the use of the devices.

It has emerged that telecom companies were told last week that users of their "low-cost" tariffs could no longer take passengers and faced a fine if they continued.

But a spokesman for Deutsche Telekom said it had decided not to suspend telephone services, adding that the ban was not enforceable while an appeal process was ongoing.

"Germany is one of the largest markets for telephony in Europe," he said.

"We will continue to operate in Germany and will appeal the recent lawsuit filed by Taxi Deutschland in Frankfurt. You cannot put the brakes on progress. We will continue our operations, regardless of whether some users are offering or requesting ridesharing services throughout Germany."

A check of DT's customers confirms that drivers continue to offer pick-ups in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf to people who contact them using the telephone.

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière applauded the court's decision, pointing out that telephones are also often used to arrange other types of criminal activity, such as drug deals or shifting stolen goods.

"This is a big step forward to a crime-free Germany," he added. "If you have something to say, please communicate by open postcard, using clear hand writing to speed up the text-recognition process."