26 July, 2018
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. "Driver partners are responsible for complying with the law when providing trips, including privacy laws", an Uber spokesman told the Post-Dispatch in early July. Does a ride-hailing app driver have the right to tape his passengers without their explicit consent, then use and monetize that video? People were sometimes named in the videos, while homes were also shown.
"The troubling behavior in the videos is not in line with our Community Guidelines". "The safety and comfort of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we have deactivated this driver", Lyft spokesperson Alexandra LaManna said.
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. 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.
"I try to capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers - what a Lyft and Uber ride actually is", he said. He also says he did block some conversations and visuals from the live stream were blocked. "It was fake. It felt produced", he said.
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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. "I think every one of us would expect that we are private when we're in the back of a taxi, or an Uber, or something like that".
The act of live streaming passengers without consent is technically legal in the state of Missouri, which is why Lyft and Uber didn't suspend Gargac immediately. But the nature of his recordings and the discussions around them that took place on Twitch has drawn criticism.
Ride-hailing services have previously come under scrutiny for the behavior of their drivers. This month a man suspected of being the "ride-share rapist", who posed as an Uber driver in...