Uber suspends driver after he secretly livestreamed his passengers

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch/YouTubeFootage from a Jason Gargac livestream.
  • Uber has suspended a driver after he was found to have secretly livestreamed his passengers on Twitch, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • Jason Gargac had an audience of thousands and said he tried to “capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers.”
  • He reportedly filmed customers including children, college students, and a few public figures.
  • He also drove for Lyft, which the Post-Dispatch said terminated its partnership with him.

Uber has suspended a driver found to have secretly livestreamed his passengers’ journeys on the video-sharing website Twitch, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Jason Gargac, based in St. Louis, told the Post-Dispatch about his videos in an article published Friday. His channel was public on Twitch, under the name JustSmurf, while he also tweeted about his videos.

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. The Twitch videos were subsequently removed, and Gargac’s tweets are now private.

Uber did not respond immediately to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Uber told the Post-Dispatch that Gargac’s behaviour was “troubling” and that the videos were not in line with its community standards. “The driver’s access to the app has been removed while we evaluate his partnership with Uber,” it added.

Lyft told Business Insider that it had “deactivated” its relationship with Gargac. Twitch said it does not comment on “specific individuals,” but added that it does not allow people to “share content that invades others’ privacy.”

You can watch one of his videos below:

Gargac reportedly streamed most of his more than 700 rides, with customers reportedly including children, college students, and public figures including a local TV news reporter and the Alice in Chains lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell. People were sometimes named in the videos, the Post-Dispatch said, while homes were also shown.

“I try to capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers – what a Lyft and Uber ride actually is,” Gargac told the Post-Dispatch.

The newspaper reviewed hours of Gargac’s footage. 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. Missouri law allows people to record others without their consent.

Gargac said telling customers about the filming produced contrived results. “I didn’t like it,” he said. “It was fake. It felt produced.” He added: “I love doing it.”

You can read the full St. Louis Post-Dispatch post on Jason Gargac here.

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