Uber, Lyft suspend driver who recorded St. Louis passengers

Marion JacobsJul 26, 2018

The driver worked for the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services in the St. Louis area.

Jason Gargac had an audience of thousands and said he tried to "capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers". From children, to public figures, to your average slightly-tipsy adult - no rider appeared to have been spared the disturbingly exhibitionist treatment, which included what seems to be high quality video and audio. Lyft said in a statement that Gargac had been "deactivated".

A driver in Missouri is accused of live-streaming video of hundreds of rides without telling his passengers.

Nearly all have been streamed to his channel on the live video website Twitch, where he goes by the username "JustSmurf".

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. The company notes on its help page that some cities and states may require drivers to disclose the presence of recording devices while others may bar recording devices.

Uber, Lyft, and Twitch did not respond immediately to Business Insider's request for comment.

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After the Post-Dispatch's story was published, Uber and Lyft each chose to suspend Gargac as a driver for violating their community guidelines, however. At the same time, Uber also informed that the company has ended its partnership with the driver.

Twitch did not comment to the newspaper on the case. His Twitch channel is no longer hosting any videos and has been suspended.

After talking with the Post-Dispatch, Gargac asked the reporter to not use his full name, something he had revealed on his own videos. A control panel let Gargac switch camera views as he drove.

The St. Louis Dispatch says passengers can be seen vomiting, gossiping, kissing, and having general small talk all without knowing they were being live-streamed.

Dr. Daxton "Chip" Stewart, a journalism professor at Texas Christian University and author of "Social Media and the Law", told ABC News' "Start Here" podcast that Missouri is a "one-party consent" state, meaning only one of the parties to a conversation needs to be aware it's being recorded, even if it's on video. Gargac said he earned $3,500 from the streaming, through subscriptions, donations and tips.

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