Uber driver suspended after secretly streaming more than 700 rides on Twitch
These days, you can't really go anywhere without being caught on camera. There's at least one in every store, every office building, on every street, and every town. In fact, you're probably looking at one right now - right above your phone or computer screen. And, because of that, we've sort of got used to the idea that we're probably always being watched.
However, our ease of access to cameras has already caused a number of problems in the modern world. It's so much easier to spy on people, for instance, or document a stranger's actions for the sake of a little social media attention. And it's not like these things are a rare occurrence, either.
Jason Gargac, an Uber driver, was recently suspended after it was discovered that he had live-streamed footage of more than 700 people that had used his services - and his actions are causing some people to question the law.
Gargac, a 32-year-old ride share driver for Uber and Lyft in St Louis, had spent months sharing and uploading footage of his customers to Twitch so that others could watch them for entertainment. When he first started doing this, Gargac did actually tell passengers that they were being filmed. However, according to him, many people didn't like that, and either acted unnaturally or refused to cooperate altogether.
Rather than give up on his venture, though, the driver decided that the best course of action would be to just carry on without explicit permission.
"I try to capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers — what a Lyft and Uber ride actually is," he said.
But those who watched the videos weren't just observing the Uber users; they were also commenting on their visual appearances, discussing their conversations, and - on some occasions - rating them on various factors.
Due to Missouri's privacy laws, however, Gargac might not have done anything illegal. In St Louis, the one-party consent law means that it isn't criminal to record someone without their knowledge, as long as at least one person on the video consents to it.
And, seeing as Gargac was in the videos - and he obviously had no problem with being in them - there might not be anything that can be done to stop him.
Still, the driver's secret recordings were in violation of Uber's community guidelines, and so the rideshare company has decided to "end their partnership" with him. Lyft, too, have stated that "The safety and comfort of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we have deactivated this driver."
Twitch have not commented on Gargac's case specifically, but have maintained that their guidelines prevent anyone from invading someone else's privacy, and stated that videos would be taken down if the person whose privacy was invaded chose to complain.
Since being suspended from his jobs, the driver has removed the content that was online, and tweeted to let his followers know that the videos were gone "for now". Whether or not he will face legal action remains to be seen.