Uber, Lyft suspend driver who recorded St. Louis passengers

Uber suspended a driver in the US for streaming videos of his passengers without their consent

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 auto.

There were about 700 rides given by Gargac since March through Uber and Lyft and nearly all of them were recorded, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The live streams revealed personal conversations of passengers on a Twitch web channel and comments made about the conversations and female passengers' bodies - a format similar to HBO's Taxicab Confessions from the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Gargac isn't the first Uber driver to create online videos featuring his ride-hailing passengers.

But some riders said they felt their privacy had been violated. The Post-Dispatch identified about a dozen of Gargac's passengers, all of whom said they would not have consented to being recorded.

After the story's publication, Uber said it was suspending his use of the app due to "troubling behavior".

In some instances, the passengers confirmed their full names to Gargac during the broadcast without him ever informing them that they were being recorded.

Gargac also told the Dispatch he wasn't breaking the law, and pointed to Missouri's one-party consent rule on electronic communications. "It makes me sick".

Twitch did not comment on this specific case but, according to ABC News America, said it does not allow people to share content that invades others privicay. But the nature of his recordings and the discussions around them that took place on Twitch has drawn criticism.

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

Jason Gargac, based in St. Louis, told the Post-Dispatch about his videos in an article published Friday.

Reached for a response, Twitch wouldn't comment directly on Gargac.

It is not a crime in Missouri for parties to record their own interactions, unless it shows someone nude without that person's consent.

The revelation, though, has provoked debate about privacy, ethics and its legality - even though an Uber spokesperson said the practice is not against Missouri law.

"Fundamentally, exposing people, especially women, to random people on the internet is mean and it's wrong", said Alex Rosenblat, a researcher at the nonprofit think tank Data and Society.

"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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