Wednesday, April 01, 2020

UTAG Update - Oral Hearing Date

Further to our email of 20 March 2020 to make you aware of our decision to suspend all payments for the next 3 months, we also made you aware we had applied to the High Court to challenge Mrs Justice Amanda Tipple’s denial of our Judicially Review application.

In the opinion of our QC, her reason for rejection was wholly unacceptable and we challenged it by way or requesting an Oral Hearing at the High Court.

We have today received the news that the Oral Hearing will take place on 22 April 2020 and we await confirmation if this will be at the High Court or via video link.

We acknowledge this is an unprecedented period for the trade, but we wanted to share with our loyal supporters the progress made since our last update.

In closing, we should like to thank all of you for your invaluable ongoing support.  We will provide a further update as we get nearer to the hearing.

Kind regards

Angela and Trevor
United Trade Action Group

Hempstead’? TfL forced to hastily fix awkward road-painting error in Camden

Transport for London’s (TfL) road-painting team were forced to hastily correct an awkward road-painting error outside of Camden Town station ... they had mistakenly pointed drivers in the direction of “Hempstead” rather than Hampstead.

Typical from TfL, a body with the London Mayor as Chairperson that most people allege are not fit for purpose. 

Jokes on social media ensued, with some mischievously pointing out that hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant.

The road outside of the Tube station had been repainted as part of TfL’s Britannia Junction redevelopment.

David Sockett, who heads up project and programme delivery at TfL, said: “We’d like to apologise for the unfortunate spelling error on Camden High Street, where work had been carried out to make Britannia Junction safer. The error has now been rectified.”

TfL also reiterated that everyone except critical workers should not be travelling, and it had therefore stopped construction on its construction sites unless there was an “operational safety” reason to continue.

Taxi drivers have pointed out that it appears the Taxi rank floor signage has not been replace and they were worried that this busy working rank was to disappear. 

Not to worry though, the rank board is still in place which means that Taxis can still rank at this location following instructions on the notice. 

Jim Thomas, editor of Taxi Leaks said: As long as there is no suspension order signage attached to the post, Taxi ranks do not necessitate road markings as we’ve frequently been advised at venues such as Hakassan. 

Drivers have been asking for road marking since the rank was first implemented, but were informed by both TfL and Westminster City Council: “You don’t need the rank to be naked out, as long as the notice is clearly displayed at the rank” 

HAKASSAN BRUTON STREET road markings, just a Taxi rank notice on a pole.

Houseparty offers $1m reward for proof of sabotage

With people stuck isolating at home, spending much more time online, the keyboard warriors are out in force. 

We are seeing conspiracy theory after theory, from people with nothing better to do....

The latest conspiracy try’s to trash the extremely popular “HouseParty” app which is allowing friends and family users to keep in touch by making free FaceTime conference calls on their phones 

The company behind the app has now offered a massive $1m bounty after it suspected foul play from a rival app producer being behind the current malicious rumours. 

The article below has appeared today in the nation press:

No evidence of Houseparty hacking - but people are still deleting the app
A couple of weeks ago, Houseparty was a relatively obscure video calling app - an also-ran alongside a host of other social media hopefuls. 

As the coronavirus outbreak has forced us all indoors, it has shot up app download charts, with millions signing up to take part in group chats and games.

Then, at the start of the week, rumours began emerging that the service had been hacked in a similar fashion to Uber, exposing users’ Spotify, Netflix and even bank accounts. 

In the last 48 hours, tweets and WhatsApp messages have been spreading rapidly urging people to delete the app.

Security experts say there is little substance to the rumours. There has been no evidence of a Houseparty breach, or of increased attacks on other apps either. Just another viral rumour. 

But then the company behind the Houseparty app cried conspiracy. 
The app producers have now offered a $1m bounty, alleging that the hacking claims were part of a “smear campaign” to discredit the app.

One can certainly believe there are companies out there that would like to see Houseparty fail. After all, if you’re on Houseparty, you’re not on Instagram, or Snapchat, or Zoom. 

But there seems to be about as much evidence of a purposeful campaign against the company than of it being hacked - very little.

Nonetheless, these rumours have a habit of becoming folk knowledge. Plenty of people believe Facebook is listening to your conversations, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Houseparty may not have been hacked, but people are still deleting it.

According to Apptopia downloads of the app rose from an average of 130,000 a week mid-February to 2m a week in the middle of March.

Online gaming firm Epic Games, which also makes Fortnite, purchased Houseparty from its creator in 2019.

Epic Games has not said why it believes Houseparty were the victim of a smear attack but promised to pay the first person to provide evidence of this.

How it all started
On Monday the company began fighting rumours on social media that the video chat app was the reason other apps were being hacked.

Several people posted on Twitter screenshots they claimed showed they were locked out of applications like Netflix, Spotify and even bank accounts after they downloaded Houseparty.

Those tweets were followed up by calls to delete Houseparty, and by claims that Epic Games was preventing users from removing Houseparty from their phones.

The company issued a statement denying those allegations.
"We've found no evidence to suggest a link between Houseparty and the compromises of other unrelated accounts," a spokesperson for Epic Games said.
"As a general rule, we suggest all users choose strong passwords when creating online accounts on any platform."

Source: Telegraph, BBC News  

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Contactless Payment Limit ‬Increased From £30 To £45 ‬From Tomorrow‬

The contactless card payment limit will be increased by £15 to £45 from Wednesday to make paying for goods more hygienic amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The ‘tap and go’ limit is currently £30 but after increases in other parts of Europe as part of measures to stop the spread of the virus, the change will be introduced in the UK.

With the growing popularity of contactless payment, the industry was already considering an increase but the process was accelerated after the outbreak of Covid-19, as it means more payments can be made without the need to handle cash or touch a card machine.

Trade association UK Finance, which represents the finance and payments industry, said the decision to raise the limit was made following talks with the retail sector.

It is three times the amount it stood at originally, with ‘tap and go’ contactless cards initially having a limit of £10 in 2007.
This was increased to £15 in 2010, £20 in 2012 and to £30 in 2015.

However, not all card machines will have the latest limit this week as the software needs to be updated to accept the higher payment and the process will happen gradually.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said while the new contactless limit will be operational at some stores across the UK from April 1, it may be some time before it can be applied more widely.

BRC head of payments policy Andrew Cregan said: ‘Some shops will take longer to make the necessary changes, given the strain they’re under.’

Some £80.5 billion was spent using contactless payments in 2019, UK Finance figures show, up by 16% on the previous year.
With a higher spend limit on contactless payments, people may also be concerned about security and fraud but according to UK Finance, contactless fraud equates to just 2.5p in every £100 spent using contactless technology.

It said contactless fraud on payment cards and devices represents just 3.3% of overall card fraud losses.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Nightmare Continues As NHS Considers Alleged Contaminated Lift Offers For Front Line Staff

Until just a few weeks ago, the so-called sharing economy was flourishing and definitely looked like it was the future. 

Enjoyed mostly by young people, (or so the story goes), they do not like owning things, preferring instead to rent everything from cars, bikes and scooters... to holiday homes like AirBnB.

But faced with a pandemic, such as the one we are currently living through, the problem with renting is that other people have usually touched them first. 

Shared scooters, and bicycles, which once appeared to be a fun, convenient way of getting look likely to be contaminated vectors for a disease that could prove to be fatal. 

The shared economy business, that once looked so promising, depends on the ability to travel, or at least to leave the house. Under present circumstances, this has been rendered millions of people worldwide are now suspect to social distancing measures.

The likes of AirBnB, Ola, Bolt, Uber and Jump....have seen their business plummet during this worldwide pandemic. 

In several cities, housing markets have been flooded with properties previously advertised on Airbnb, as tourism and business travel dwindles to nothing... driving prices down dramatically. 

And yet with all the dangers involved with the sharing economy, it seems the NHS, government and local councils appear to be welcoming Uber and Scoot’s offer of free shared car rides and free bicycle loans for their front line staff. 

This is of course another Uber PR scam, we’ve seen this before (December 2019)with NHS staff offered free rides and free food, not being able to access the service with faulty codes.

NHS staff were left hungry and out in the cold, after the discount code that promised the discounts and free rides failed to work.

Many NHS staff, said they were unable to access the service, when the promotional code failed to work. To add insult to injury, when customers complained, they were just told services in their area were "unavailable". After all the press publicity, London proved to be one of the ares the service was unavailable in. (Source The Sun)

All the controversy, the overcharging, the frauds, the fake documentation, the imposters, the sexual assaults, the rapes...just one scandal after another...and yet this is the mob that the disabled lobby group ‘Transport for All’ have gone into partnership with. 

Local councillors, government politicians, regulatory directors and even magistrates have all covered for this company time and time again. Some even alleged to have been found to have financial links with the company.... you couldn’t make it up

In What Appears To Be A Recurring Nightmare, NHS Welcomes Ubers Offer Of Free Rides In Contaminated Ride-Share Vehicles And Use Of Unsanitary Jump Cycles.  

Instead of this terrifying offer, putting staff lives at risk, perhaps Uber should consider paying back the massive £1.4bn Tax bill it is alleged to owe HMRC. just imaging what the NHS could do with that right now ???
See link 👇👇👇

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Outside Grodzinski in Edgware Friday 27th March. "If That’s The Law Sir, Then The Law Is An Ass".

A Metropolitan Police officer has been filmed threatening to fine a Grodzinski bakery employee for drawing temporary lines on the pavement to help customers queue at a safe distance from each other.
The officer can be heard outside the Edgware bakery telling the employee that marking “council property” is a criminal offence and that “the law still applies, coronavirus or not” while she insists the spray chalk paint can just be washed off.
The woman says: “It’s to keep my customers safe”.

A passer-by, who filmed the scene on his phone, tells the officer: “This is horrendous. This is ridiculous. He’s giving her a ticket. I guess the police want people to die”.

Referring to the chalk markings on the pavement, the officer says: “Ideally this needs to be taken off”, adding, “The law is the law and that doesn’t change because of what is happening”.
At one point the officer appears to indicate that if the markings had been placed on the window of the shop instead of on the pavement he would not be recording the act as an offence.
“Unbelieveable”, the woman replies.

The man filming says: “He’s giving her a ticket when this is removable,” before addressing the officer and saying: “You want to call anyone above you before you do that?”
“I don’t need to,” the officer replies.
The man behind the camera tells him: “This is the opposite of taking care of the public”.

When the female employee says that she has an outdoor trading licence, which made the marked pavement area her property, the officer replies, “that’s something for Barnet trading standards to look into”.
The Met told the JC the officer ultimately did not proceed with issuing a fine but added: "The actions shown in this video do not reflect the current policing style that the MPS seeks to adopt."

"The officer advised the woman that he was planning to issue a ticket for criminal damage. However, following a further conversation, no ticket was issued," a force spokesperson said.
"The officer has been spoken to and all staff on the borough will be reminded about using discretion where appropriate in these exceptional times."

Source : The JC.

This article is obviously not Taxi related, but it shows the attitude of a police sergeant towards a member of the public, acting on behalf of her customer's safety.

This is the same attitude that Taxi drivers often are faced with by undercover police officers at mainline Taxi ranks.

Recently reported in Taxi Leaks, we saw an undercover police women harassing a driver at Kings Cross rank, then actually tried to submit a false video as evidence in court....when the driver's barrister pointed out that the video was not of the driver in question, the case was immediately dropped by the prosecution. 

The officer says he is issuing a ticket because that’s the Charles Dickens' Mr Bumble said in Oliver Twist..."if that’s the law sir, then the law is an ass.
"If that’s the law sir then the law is a bachelor.
"And the worst I wish is that it’s eyes may be opened by experience -by experience".