During their early rapid growth, sharing economy companies started operations around the world without regard to local laws on the basis that existing regulations had not envisaged the radical and disruptive new ideas they embodied. But the tide slowly turned as the whizzy tech rhetoric wore off and it became clear that Uber was in fact a taxi company and Airbnb was in effect a hotel business. So should we just ban them? No, as they can be useful services and more attractive than the alternatives. The question is how can they be made to behave better. Consumer boycotts, however well intentioned, don’t have the desired effect. The law, however, can. The first thing potential regulators need to know, though, is what is actually happening, which is surprisingly difficult since Airbnb keeps its data secret. Get the full story at The Guardian