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How To Grass Up Your Neighbour

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How To Grass Up Your Neighbour

Geoff Maxted
December 29, 2013

Cell Phone App
Fancy being a traffic warden, only without the abuse and the ill-fitting uniform? Well, if a company across the pond in Canada has its way you too can dish out parking tickets anonymously and get paid for it. This is a rather nasty form of what the originators are calling ‘crowd sourced parking control’.

It apparently stems from their own bitter experiences whereby the parking spots adjacent to their business were being ‘abused’ and their customers couldn’t park. As a consequence they have decided they will turn driver against driver based pretty much on the aggrieved person’s opinion.

Anyone can use this app. Rather disingenuously they say that their product is designed for use on private land and car parks and that they are not intended for say, council run parking; but here in the real world this is not going to happen is it?

Once downloaded to the device the app allows anyone to take an image, along with the location and number plate of a vehicle whose time has expired or is badly parked and send it to the car park’s operator. If a ticket is successfully issued and a fine paid then the app user is supposed to get a cut of the dosh. Lovely.

This unpleasant advance follows on from the increasing use of dashboard cams to film the exploits of allegedly bad drivers and forward it to the authorities or upload it to websites. Dozens of penalties have been issued to people caught in this way. It is a sign of the times that over eighty thousand ‘likes’ have been given on a social network that encourages people to ‘shame’ badly parked car owners with a public image. This is surely an adjunct of the troll society that has blighted so many lives.

The manufacturer of this app say they want to give power to the people and harness the ‘power of the crowd’, for which read mob. Right now they are talking to parking companies around the world to whom this is likely to appeal as, at a stroke, they essentially recruit freelance staff. If anyone is naive enough to think that this won’t be abused is living in a different world to most of us.

Nobody likes bad or thoughtless parking any more than they do bad or thoughtless driving, but surely we already have a body of people dedicated to the law. They are called the police. Private companies have their wardens as do councils. Why should something like this even be considered necessary? The argument that ‘If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about’, is misleading. Everybody makes mistakes. It is a step too far and turns motorist against motorist and neighbour against neighbour. Sadly, it is very likely to be successful.

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