Uber And Lyft Suspend Driver Who Secretly Livestreamed Passengers

Jason Gargac made about $3,500 from live-streaming nearly 700 rides for viewers to comment upon

The decision followed a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Jason Gargac, a U.S. Army Veteran, had set up purple lights and a pair of cameras that broadcast a live stream of passengers to viewers on Twitch.

Nearly all have been streamed to his channel on the live video website Twitch, where he goes by the username "JustSmurf".

Defending himself, Gargac told the paper, "I try to capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers-what a Lyft and Uber ride actually is".

But some riders told the newspaper their privacy had been violated and they didn't know they were livestreamed and wouldn't have consented. 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 story's publication, Uber said it was suspending his use of the app due to "troubling behavior". The Twitch videos have subsequently been removed and Gargac's tweets are protected.

In an interview with the St Louis Post Dispatch, Gargac said he had enlisted the help of his wife to remove any racist, homophobic or overly sexual comments.

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Almost all of the driver's roughly 700 rides in the St. Louis area were recorded online, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He added: "I love doing it". "Driver partners are responsible for complying with the law when providing trips, including privacy laws", an Uber spokesman told the Post-Dispatch in early July. He has also inadvertently revealed the full names of his riders and their homes and neighbourhood on the streaming platform.

Hundreds of Uber and Lyft passengers in Missouri were reportedly livestreamed without their knowledge over the past four months, and one media privacy expert says it was probably legal.

Missouri law allows a person to record others without their consent, said Ari Waldman, director of New York Law School's Innovation Center for Law and Technology.

Uber and Lyft have placed one of their drivers on suspension after finding out he had been filming customers and streaming the footage online. Following the report, an Uber spokesperson confirmed to the Post-Dispatch that the company had "suspended Gargac after reviewing his videos".

Twitch explained that they "do not comment on terms of service violations in regards to a specific individuals" and "do not allow people to share content that invades other's privacy". "I didn't like it", he said.

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