[BY SASHA LEKACH]
There’s the Lime app, the Lyft app, the Uber app for Jump scooters, then there’s Bird. And don’t forget about Spin, Scoot, or Skip, each with its own smartphone app to unlock, rent, and ride a two-wheeled electric scooter. Scooter Map arrived in 2019 with all that scooter data aggregated. In One. Single. Place. Thank you.
But developer Victor Pontis’ creation is facing scrutiny from bigger scooter companies. The latest issue comes from scooter operator Lime, The San Francisco-based company recently sent another cease and desist letter to Scooter Map, which pulls Lime scooter data like location and battery level onto its app.
The whole saga started at the beginning of 2019 when companies like Lime and Bird were less than pleased that Scooter Map let users unlock scooters directly through the third-party app. It’s since changed with a redirect to each scooter companies’ specific app.
Despite that change, Scooter Map is now in trouble with Apple’s App Store after Lime’s head of IP Legal notified the online marketplace about trademark, data, and logo misuse, as seen in emails to Pontis that Mashable reviewed. The cease and desist notices keep coming.
So now Pontis has created a petition for riders and community chargers who use Scooter Map to sign off on the app’s usefulness in their lives. In the few days since posting the petition Pontis said about 1,000 people have signed. Comments from riders reiterate the convenience of the app.
“Scooter Map helps me see my options without opening multiple apps,” one Boston rider said in the petition comments section. “No one wants to have to open 2-5 scooter applications to find one near you,” another rider in Denver wrote.
Lime is keeping up the pressure to at least remove Lime data from Scooter Map. In a company statement, Lime noted, “Scooter Map’s approach negatively impacts the rider experience and trust we’ve built with our users, which is why we have asked them to stop scraping our API in violation of the law and our terms of service.”
On Lime’s list of issues with Scooter Map:
Enabling Scooter Map to track where riders go, violating user privacy.
Obtaining riders’ and juicers’ consent for a limited purpose, but significantly expanding its invasiveness on their user accounts without their knowledge in an attempt to get around Lime’s cybersecurity measures.
Placing a huge load on our system, slowing down our system and making our data server less accurate for users.
Pontis assured “we don’t share data” from the tens of thousands of users signed into the app. He also taps into publicly available scooter locations. As to privacy concerns, Pontis said, “We don’t know where you are when you’re not in the app.”