St Louis Uber driver live-streamed hundreds of passengers

While it’s perfectly acceptable for Uber and Lyft drivers to record for their own safety. Maybe this was taking it a bit too far

While it’s perfectly acceptable for Uber and Lyft drivers to record for their own safety. Maybe this was taking it a bit too far

A St. Louis driver who livestreamed his passengers online without their knowledge has been dropped from Uber and Lyft as well as Twitch. Anonymous viewers online often commented on riders' conversations and left sexual or offensive comments about female passengers' bodies.

Users would post comments about the passengers, sometimes denigrating ones that compared passengers to each other.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jason Gargac of Florissant, Missouri had streamed over 700 rides since March.

But some riders said they felt their privacy had been violated.

Gargac also told the Dispatch he wasn't breaking the law, and pointed to Missouri's one-party consent rule on electronic communications. In the streams, passengers would enter his vehicle and be recorded by a front-facing camera that Gargac had attached to his windshield, the publication reports.

According to the Post-Dispatch, Gargac displayed a small sticker on the back passenger window informing passengers that his auto was "equipped with audio and visual recording devices" for security purposes.

Passengers did not always know they were being recorded. Courtesy BBC
Passengers did not always know they were being recorded. Courtesy BBC

In some instances, the passengers confirmed their full names to Gargac during the broadcast without him ever informing them that they were being recorded. "We got in an Uber at 2 a.m.to be safe, and then I find out that, because of that, everything I said in that auto is online and people are watching me". A Twitch spokesman said the company's terms of service and guidelines "do not allow people to share content that invades others' privacy" and that any reported videos would be removed.

Gargac said he's trying to "capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers". His Twitch channel is no longer hosting any videos and has been suspended.

In an earlier statement to CNN, Lyft noted that its drivers are "required to follow applicable local laws and regulations, including with regard to the use of any recording device".

Gargac, 32, who was driving for the services while seeking to get a job as a police officer, said he initially installed the pair of cameras and wireless connectivity for streaming live as a way to protect himself while driving.

It is not a crime in Missouri for parties to record their own interactions, unless it shows someone nude without that person's consent. Uber did not immediately respond to questions about the suspension, including whether the ride-hailing company has policies for livestreaming passengers. "I didn't like it", he said.

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