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

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Jason Gargac, who drives for both Uber and Lyft, has given out 700 rides in St Louis since March and the majority of them were broadcast live on Twitch without permission from those inside his vehicle.

The videos revealed passengers' personal information and their private conversations. However, Gargac told the Post-Dispatch that one of the key differences in his streams compared to those already on the service is that he didn't ask his passengers for permission, believing it resulted in a "fake" experience.

However, nearly none of the passengers were told they were being filmed, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which reported on Gargac's Twitch channel last week.

Jim Dempsey, executive director at UC Berkeley School of Law's Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, said the recording may or may not be illegal depending on where the trip is located - in Missouri, for example, you only need one party's consent to legally record a conversation - but that doesn't mean it's fair game to post online for all the world to see.

Gargac, a bearded Army veteran, rarely specifies that he is streaming live but a few passengers who noticed were told he was recording for safety, the Post-Dispatch reported after viewing dozens of hours of footage.

But the Post-Dispatch article raised questions about Gargac's actions from privacy and ethical perspectives, and Uber and Lyft, which he also drove for, condemned his actions.

While watching on Twitch, some viewers at one point were assigning number ratings for women riders based on looks.

Footage from a Jason Gargac livestream.

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Gargac told the Dispatch that he was just capturing "natural interactions between myself and the passengers - what a Lyft and Uber ride actually is".

Gargac defended his actions to the Post-Dispatch, saying other Twitch users did the same thing, though their notifying the passengers of the recording made the feeds less entertaining.

After the story went viral, Uber removed Gargac from the service Saturday night, and Lyft did the same on Sunday.

"The troubling behavior in the videos is not in line with our Community Guidelines. It makes me sick".

The Twitch spokesman said the company does not comment on specific cases.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, passengers did not always know he was live-streaming their journey from a camera mounted on the windscreen. "I don't have that in a stranger's vehicle", Gargac told the newspaper.

"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".