This is a two-edged column because I am updating two different issues.

One is net neutrality, the effort of governments to get control of the Internet. My sense is that it will be about as successful or otherwise as the effort of governments centuries ago to get control of books has been.

But now that net neutrality has won in the United States, as almost all progressive causes have, the question is, what happens next. From the Daily Dot:

Politics may or may not play an important role in the outcome of the net neutrality case at the appellate level, but political calculations will almost certainly determine whether the case reaches the Supreme Court.

Every year, the Supreme Court receives about 10,000 requests to hear cases. It grants only about 80 of those requests. One factor that weighs heavily on the justices as they are debating whether or not take a case is the input of the U.S. Solicitor General, the lawyer who represents the federal government at the Supreme Court. The Solicitor General, who is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, works so closely with the justices that he or she is often referred to in legal circles as “the tenth justice.”

“The Supreme Court is always more likely to take a case when the Solicitor General weighs in and asks the Court to hear a case like this,” Waldron said, referring to cases involving agency authority.

Given how long the net neutrality court battle is expected to last, the Supreme Court is unlikely to receive a request to review an appellate court ruling in the case while President Obama is in office. This means that the case’s chances of reaching the Supreme Court hinge in part on whether the next president is a Democrat or a Republican.

Which might be information for readers if they are Americans who aren’t sure how much good government control of the Internet will do.

And an update on the Uber ride-sharing service, easy to reach by cell. One issue I had raised was insurance.

Briefly, a taxi company must typically carry enough insurance that if a serious collision ensues, the passenger is protected from catastrophic expenses. It’s always been unclear to what extent that applies to Uber drivers, precisely because it is a ride-sharing service, not a licensed taxi service. A recent article in Canadian media, quoting Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, does nothing to allay my concerns:

Toronto taxis are required to have commercial coverage and carry a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance. An owner or driver has 10 days to notify the city if there is any change to the policy.

The city cited inadequate insurance that “might not provide essential coverage to drivers, passengers and others in the event of accidents,” as one of the reasons it is seeking an injunction for Uber to stop its operations here. A court date is scheduled for May.

Karageorgos said the way things stand he would choose a licensed cab over an UberX vehicle. “Because of how they’re regulated through the municipality, there are some checks and balances in place that make me feel more comfortable,” he says.

If an accident happens and the driver isn’t properly insured, “I can go after the taxi company or the municipality that oversees them so there are other steps I can pursue.”

Well, if Karageorgos or anyone else can go after the municipality, that is a pretty big pocket by comparison with a private business like Uber, never mind the mere licenced driver who owns a vehicle, whose paperwork may not be up to date within ten days.

As Uber spreads into Canada, it has hit other bumps in the road.

Two UberX drivers in Montreal had their cars impounded by police in recent weeks.

Uber’s idea sounds good in principle but, as so often happens with Internet-based services, it can grow too fast for the surrounding systems, and adequate insurance is definitely one of the must systems.

For example, does the driver have commercial insurance? At what level?:

Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...