An Uber and Lyft driver in St. Louis, Missouri has been silently streaming all of his rides on popular streaming platform Twitch without passenger consent. St. Louis Post-Dispatch describers Jason Gargac, the 32-year-old driver of these ride hailing platforms, to have given around 700 rides since March 2018. The report notes that Gargac took advantage of Missouri’s one-party consent laws to build up a following on Twitch by live-streaming passengers including children.
Using the online handle “JustSmurf”, the driver is believed to have streamed nearly all of his rides on Twitch. He has also inadvertently revealed the full names of his riders and their homes and neighbourhood on the streaming platform. Gargac told the publication that he is not the only one streaming rides on the platform. He claims to have stumbled onto the trend while browsing Twitch network and decided to start streaming himself.
The report says that Gargac is not the only one doing so without seeking consent of his passengers. On his car, Gargac has a $3,000 camera setup that includes both rear-facing and front-facing cameras showing the interior of the vehicle and the environment through which he drives through everyday. On Twitch, Gargac has amassed 4,350 followers and around 1000 of them pay a minimum of $5 a month to subscribe to his channel and indirectly offer financial support.
While Gargac has been observed to befriend his passengers with comical interactions, his viewers have been less pleasant. Viewers of his stream have mocked individuals and have rated the attractiveness of female passengers. Gargac told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was forced to create on-screen graphics to prevent his viewers from selectively clipping or editing out short clips. He has also had to mute his microphones when addresses or sensitive information is being disclosed by the passengers. Since these actions need to be taken preemptively, Gargac is not guaranteed to have the ultimate control.
“I have sex in my bedroom. I don’t have sex in strangers’ cars. Because I have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the bedroom in my own house. I don’t have that in a stranger’s car,” Gargac told the newspaper. In an interview, he also added that live stream provides him security and he concluded by saying, “I love doing it.”
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Since Missouri state law does not prohibit such behavior as part of its privacy law, Gargac is currently safe. The state cannot do anything about his activity of livestreaming rides since he is not breaking one-party consent law. Neither Uber or Lyft seem to be planning any action against Gargac since he is not breaking any of their terms. “Recording passengers without their consent is illegal in some states, but not Missouri,” Uber told the paper in a statement.