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Uber driver suspended after live-streaming passengers on Twitch

A St. Louis ride-share driver reportedly streamed around 700 Uber and Lyft rides to Twitch without passengers' consent.

Businessman getting into backseat of exclusive cab
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

A ride-share driver in St. Louis, working for both Uber and Lyft, has been suspended after covertly recording and live-streaming passengers to Twitch, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Jason Gargac of Florissant, Missouri, had been driving for Uber and Lyft since March, live-streaming most of his rides, which number in excess of 700 for Uber alone, to his Twitch channel, where he went by the alias "JustSmurf." 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.

Streaming passenger pick-ups is not a new phenomenon on Twitch, which houses an "In Real Life" section where people can stream everyday activities from going to the supermarket, to fitness regimes, cooking and so on. However, Gargac told the Post-Dispatch that one of the key differences in his streams compared to those already on the service is that he didn't ask his passengers for permission, believing it resulted in a "fake" experience.

As he operates in Missouri, Gargac's actions are legally sound. The state allows for recording conversations under a one party consent law. If you are a party in a conversation, as Gargac is in his live stream, you are legally allowed to record it. 

On Saturday, Gargac tweeted that "transparency is always key" and that he had removed videos from his Twitch channel as "step #1 of trying to calm everyone down."

Gargac's Twitch channel has since been completely deactivated, though Twitch told the Post-Dispatch that it was uncertain as to why the channel was no longer online. The company told multiple outlets that they "do not comment on Terms of Service violations in regards to specific individuals" and "do not allow people to share content that invades others' privacy."

Regardless of the legal connotations, both Uber and Lyft have now suspended Gargac from operating as a driver. 

"The troubling behaviour in the videos is not in line with our Community Guidelines. We have ended our partnership with this driver," an Uber spokeswoman told CNET, also noting that Gargac's access to the app has been removed. 

Similarly, a spokesperson for Lyft said it had deactivated the driver.

Update, 10:03 p.m.: Adds comment from Lyft and Uber spokespeople.