Uber suspends driver who live-streamed passengers on Twitch

Lloyd Doyle
July 23, 2018

Ride-sharing company Uber has suspended a driver who recorded hundreds of St. Louis-area riders without their permission and streamed the live video online. Sometimes passengers' homes and names were revealed.

Following questions from the newspaper, Uber said it had suspended Mr Gargac. Gargac said he earned $3,500 from the streaming, through subscriptions, donations and tips.

As he operates in Missouri, Gargac's actions are legally sound.

In a statement, an Uber spokesperson said the "troubling behavior in the videos" violated its community guidelines, and that the "driver's access to the app has been removed while we evaluate his partnership with Uber". Like other Uber and Lyft drivers who stream their passengers' journeys on Twitch's In Real Life section, he initially informed customers about the livestreams.

"The safety and comfort of the Lyft community is our top priority", it added.

"I've had a few offline conversations with some folks, and they suggested getting rid of the stored vods as step #1 of trying to calm everyone down", he said, referring to on-demand videos on Twitch. He added: "I love doing it".

This story originally appeared in the New York Post. Gargac livestreamed people without their knowledge as he tried to become a police officer.

The Post-Dispatch already knew his name.

Lyft also suspended Mr Gargac. They have come under scrutiny for the oversight of their drivers, which they consider independent contractors and not employees.

Rosenblat, who is writing a book called "Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work", said she had studied the company for four years. He said the livestream was "secondary", and the cameras were for the "security that I feel knowing if something happens, immediately there can be a response versus hopefully you'll find my truck in a ditch three weeks later". This better be content, that's all I'm saying, ' Gargac tells viewers of two female passengers he picked up.

In an earlier statement to CNN, Lyft noted that its drivers are "required to follow applicable local laws and regulations, including with regard to the use of any recording device". He said victims could theoretically sue for invasion of privacy, but "would need to show that the back of an Uber is a place where we can and should be expected to be private".

"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", he said.

In the streams, passengers would enter his vehicle and be recorded by a front-facing camera that Gargac had attached to his windshield, the publication reports.

Ride-hailing services have previously come under scrutiny for the behavior of their drivers. His videos were removed from Twitch, which is mostly used by people live-streaming themselves playing video games, following the report.

Twitch isn't exactly known for this kind of content. Before his channel was taken down, Gargac had 4,500 followers and around 100 subscribers, who paid $US5 a month to watch his uploads.

Reached for a response, Twitch wouldn't comment directly on Gargac.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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