Uber, Lyft suspend driver who recorded St. Louis passengers

Ruben Fields
July 25, 2018

It said passengers rarely noticed the camera, and when they did Gargac would often say he was recording them for safety reasons, rather than acknowledging the livestream.

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".

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.

It'd be one thing for your Uber or Lyft driver to record your trips in their auto - but it's another thing entirely when your driver posts that footage online.

The livestream occasionally revealed the passengers' full names and residences, as well as private conversations and intimate moments, the newspaper reported.

"The troubling behavior in the videos is not in line with our Community Guidelines", Uber said, in a statement.

Children, intoxicated college students and public figures, including Jerry Cantrell, lead guitarist with the band Alice in Chains, have been among the unwitting passengers, the Post-Dispatch reported.

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Gargac said he's trying to "capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers".

Apparently, she would help him moderate any Twitch comments that were overtly homophobic and racist, and yet, having users rate women from 1-10 was somehow okay?! Gargac's Twitch account, "JustSmurf", was pulled from the website this weekend.

After the story went viral, Uber removed Gargac from the service Saturday night, and Lyft did the same on Sunday. People were sometimes named in the videos, while homes were also shown. He gave a reporter his business card.

Uber has permanently banned a driver for his creepy practice of live streaming footage of his passengers without their consent. Since these actions need to be taken preemptively, Gargac is not guaranteed to have the ultimate control. Only in this case, the people filmed did not know they were on camera. Missouri is among the states that require only one party to consent to recordings.

But CNN legal analyst Page Pate acknowledges this is new territory for many states' laws concerning privacy and recording.

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. "I didn't like it", he said.

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