Egypt MPs pass controversial bill on ride-sharing apps

Cairo (AFP) –


Egyptian lawmakers on Monday approved a bill regulating ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Careem, parliament said, leaving in two articles that allow security services to obtain customers' data.

The legislation was passed despite concerns among some lawmakers, including the "25-30" grouping that has opposed several bills.

"We expressed our reservations on articles nine and 10, and asked that the text include obtaining the prosecution's permission before getting any of the customers' data," said Diaa al-Din Dawoud, a member of the "25-30" group.

Egypt's minister of parliamentary affairs reassured lawmakers that the bill will be implemented according to the criminal code, which includes regulations on obtaining private information, and the constitution, Dawoud said.

The bill stipulates that all ride-sharing companies must pay up to 30 million pounds ($1.7 million) to obtain a five-year licence, while the cabinet can approve payment in instalments, according to the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.

In March an Egyptian administrative court banned the ride-sharing services following a lawsuit by a lawyer representing cab drivers.

But Uber and UAE-based Careem appealed the ban, and the following month the ruling was suspended pending a verdict from the higher administrative court.

Many Egyptians who complain about taxi services, including drivers who refuse to turn on their meters or their air conditioning during the summer heat, had switched to the ride-sharing apps.