Ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft have both suspended a driver’s accounts after learning he livestreamed videos of his passengers without their consent.
The driver, identified by The St. Louis Post Dispatch as 32-year-old Jason Gargac, filmed his interactions with passengers using a small camera mounted on his windshield and streamed the footage on Twitch, a streaming service popular with gamers. Some of the thousands of conversations Gargac recorded revealed passengers’ full names and where they lived, according to the Post Dispatch.
Uber said it ended its “partnership” with Gargac and Lyft said it had “deactivated” his account. But the driver faces no legal repercussions for his behavior because Missouri has “one party consent” privacy laws, meaning only one participant in a conversation needs to agree to its being recorded.
“In regards to our policies, under our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, we do not allow people to share content that invades others’ privacy,” a Twitch spokesperson says. “If reported to us by the person whose privacy was invaded, we would take action under our Community Guidelines to remove the content.”
For some, the case underscores a disconnect between existing privacy laws and modern technology. “When these laws were drafted and enacted, I don’t think any of these states could have envisioned what we have in this case, where you have livestreaming video,” said CNN legal analyst Page on Sunday.
Gargac told the Post Dispatch that the camera was primarily a security measure, saying he knew “if something happens, immediately there can be a response, versus hopefully you’ll find my truck in a ditch three weeks later.” He said the streams were “secondary” but added “I try to capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers — what a Lyft and Uber ride actually is.”
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