Analysis of Non-Discrimination Policies in the Sharing Economy. M. Tushev, F. Ebrahimi, and A. Mahmoud, International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), 2021
Recent research has exposed a serious discrimination problem affecting applications of Sharing Economy (SE), such as Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit. To control for this problem, several SE apps crafted a new form of usage policies, known as non-discrimination policies (NDPs). These policies are intended to raise awareness of the problem and describe the measures taken by the apps to control for issues of discrimination. However, there is still a major knowledge gap in how such policies should be drafted and structured. To bridge this gap, in this paper, we introduce a first-of-its-kind framework to analyze and evaluate the content of NDPs in the SE market. Our analysis is conducted over a dataset of 108 SE apps sampled from a broad range of application domains. Our results show that a) most SE apps do not provide an NDP, b) the majority of existing policies are either extremely brief or combined as sub-statements of other usage policies, and c) only a handful of apps provide a clear statement of how their NDPs are enforced. Our analysis in this paper can assist SE app developers with drafting more comprehensive and less ambiguous NDPs as well as help users make informed decisions in one of the fastest growing software ecosystems in the world.