WTF?! A St. Louis man who drove for both Uber and Lyft has been suspended from both companies for livestreaming passengers on Twitch without their consent. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jason Gargac of Florissant, Missouri had streamed over 700 rides since March.
Gargac went by the name “JustSmurf” on his channel. 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. But because this caused them to remain silent or act differently during the ride, Gargac decided to stop requesting consent.
“Passengers have included children, drunk college students and unwitting public figures such as a local TV news reporter and Jerry Cantrell, lead guitarist with the band Alice in Chains,” writes Post-Dispatch.
“First names, and occasionally full names, are revealed. Homes are shown. Passengers have thrown up, kissed, talked trash about relatives and friends and complained about their bosses in Gargac’s truck.”
Gargac did have a small sign on a window that stated the vehicle was equipped with recording devices and that “consent” was given when entering the car, but most passengers did not notice it and he never informed them about the streams.
As the incidents took place in Missouri, no laws have been broken. The state allows the recording of conversations if one party consents to it—in this case, the consenting party was Gargac. He tweeted that "transparency is always key" and has removed the videos from his Twitch channel as "step #1 of trying to calm everyone down."
Gargac’s Twitch channel is no longer online, though the company isn’t revealing why. And while he may not have technically broken any laws, both Uber and Lyft have suspended Gargac from operating on their respective platforms.
“The troubling behavior in the videos is not in line with our Community Guidelines,” Uber said, in a statement. “The driver’s access to the app has been removed while we evaluate his partnership with Uber.”