St Louis Uber driver live-streamed hundreds of passengers

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

An Uber and Lyft driver in St. Louis, Missouri has been silently streaming all of his rides on popular streaming platform Twitch without passenger consent.

"The behavior by the driver is clearly wrong, but the companies make it very hard to win damages against them for this", he said.

Regardless, Uber said Gargac's behavior was a breach of their standards and suspended him while they investigated.

"We got in an Uber at 2am 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". Before his channel was taken down, Gargac had 4,500 followers and about 100 subscribers, who paid $5 a month to watch his uploads. He asked a Post-Dispatch reporter to not use his full name in the story, to protect his privacy.

Gargac told the Dispatch that he was just capturing "natural interactions between myself and the passengers - what a Lyft and Uber ride actually is". "In regards to our policies, under our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, we do not allow people to share content that invades others' privacy". If such a violation took place, the company would take action.

Passengers contacted by the Post-Dispatch said they did not see it. Only in this case, the people filmed did not know they were on camera.

Streaming passenger pick-ups is not a new phenomenon on Twitch, which houses an "In Real Life" section where people can stream everyday activities from going to the supermarket, to fitness regimes, cooking and so on.

A driver employed by both Uber and Lyft has been fired for livestreaming his jobs online.

It is not a crime in Missouri for parties to record their own interactions, unless it shows someone nude without that person's consent. There are other two-party consent states, where two participants in a conversations are required to consent to being recorded. He added a small sticker to his car's window that said: "Notice: For security this vehicle is equipped with audio and visual recording devices".

During the live-streams, thousands of Gargac's viewers would offer real-time commentary on the passengers, which were mostly women and sometimes even children.

"I think it's a larger question about privacy and technology for society, what we do when the norms around a particular technology are violated", Rosenblat said.

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