Uber suspends driver for live-streaming passengers without permission

Uber suspends driver for live-streaming passengers without permission
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Uber said that it has suspended a driver after it was revealed he filmed hundreds of his passengers and livestreamed the videos to the internet.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday that 32-year-old Jason Gargac, who had driven for the service since March, had installed a camera on his dashboard and livestreamed video of his passengers without their knowledge to Twitch, an online streaming service.

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The videos revealed passengers’ personal information and their private conversations. Anonymous viewers online often commented on riders’ conversations and left sexual or offensive comments about female passengers’ bodies.

Gargac, who graduated from a police academy and is seeking a job as a police officer, told the Post-Dispatch that Twitch users have paid him for the videos through subscriptions, donations and tips, and that he has earned about $3,500 from the videos since March.

Since the Post-Dispatch report was published, Uber and Lyft have both said they deactivated Gargac, and his livestream channel has disappeared from Twitch, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Twitch did not respond to the Post-Dispatch’s requests for comment for the story, but said in a statement after publication that the service would remove content in response to complaints from people who say their privacy was violated.

Both ride-share companies originally told the Post-Dispatch that Gargac’s behavior was legal because Missouri law states that only one party needs to consent to the recording of a conversation. The Post-Dispatch identified about a dozen of Gargac’s passengers, all of whom said they would not have consented to being recorded.

Gargac claimed that the primary purpose of the recordings was for security, but also contradicted himself, saying that he started driving for the services in order to create the livestream, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“The livestream and the Twitch and all that is really more secondary than the security that I feel knowing if something happens, immediately there can be a response versus hopefully you’ll find my truck in a ditch three weeks later,” he said.