Uber suspends driver who streamed videos of passengers online without their permission

Jason Gargac2

Footage from a Jason Gargac livestream. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch YouTube

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have cut ties with a driver who recorded hundreds of St. Louis-area passengers without their permission and livestreamed the video.

"It's a totally different story to have a ride-share driver record passengers conservations and passenger actions for the objective of boosting their brand, or entertaining followers, or embarrassing individuals who get in the auto". It said passengers rarely noticed the camera, and when they did Gargac would often say he was recording them for safety reasons, rather than admitting to livestreaming.

After the Post-Dispatch's story was published, Uber and Lyft each chose to suspend Gargac as a driver for violating their community guidelines, however. His go-to answer was that the recordings were for safety, but he avoided telling his riders that the footage was being streamed live on Twitch.

Gargac's actions are not illegal in Missouri, as the state allows for recordings to take place under a one party consent law.

"The troubling behavior in the videos is not in line with our Community Guidelines".

According to the St. Lous Post-Dispatch, a 32-year-old driver named Jason Gargac has streamed almost all of the 700 rides he's given since March directly on Twitch through an account called "JustSmurf".

The driver tweeted stating that he had taken down videos from his Twitch to help "calm everyone down". "We have ended our partnership with this driver". Gargac also said he earned about $3,500 over the past five months from viewer subscriptions, donations and tips collected on Twitch.

But the paper notes Gargac appeared to contradict that statement in an interview, saying he started driving for Uber and Lyft with the goal of hosting the livestream.

Several passengers complained to Uber after learning about Gargac's livestream, they told the Post-Dispatch.

Gargac made $150 to $300 nightly from his ride-sharing jobs, he told the newspaper. He has also inadvertently revealed the full names of his riders and their homes and neighbourhood on the streaming platform.

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.

Gargac isn't the first Uber driver to create online videos featuring his ride-hailing passengers.

"It's a fact-by-fact case", Pate said, "and I don't think there have been any court decisions to deal with this particular issue". He added: "I love doing it".

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