Information Systems (IS) researchers have become increasingly interested in policy. Government policy enables and constrains the range of technologies operating on the market. In the spirit of enabling innovation, governments around the world have moved to the principle of technological neutrality: regulating goals instead of specific technologies. In this paper, we focus on the legislative context of the Finnish taxi industry. Finland’s previous legislation mandated all taxicabs to be equipped with a taximeter, while prohibiting other vehicle classes from using it. Finland’s recent deregulation reform The Act on Transport Services adopted the principle of technology neutrality and thus introduced deliberate ambiguity into legal text. This ambiguity leaves room for different stakeholders to construct their own interpretations. For this paper, we conducted 19 interviews with five stakeholder types in the Finnish taxi industry and related regulatory bodies: legislators, legislation implementers, new entrants, incumbent taxi industry, and incumbent technology providers. We found how policy ambiguity opened a plethora of contesting discourses about what this seemingly mundane technology is for. We depart from the mainstream conception of policy, which views policy as a “best practice” that can be easily transferred across contexts. Instead, we call for more attention to policy ambiguity, multi-stakeholder policy contexts, and conflicting power interests.
Lanamäki, Arto; Väyrynen, Karin; Iivari, Netta; Kinnula, Marianne; Ventä-Olkkonen, Leena; and Laari-Salmela, Sari, (2019). "IS A TAXIMETER A GUARANTEE OF HONESTY OR A BARRIER TO ENTRY? EXPLORING TECHNOLOGY DISCOURSES AS CONSEQUENCES OF POLICY AMBIGUITY". In Proceedings of the 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Stockholm & Uppsala, Sweden, June 8-14, 2019. ISBN 978-1-7336325-0-8 Research Papers.