Jason Gargac, 32, of Florissant, Missouri, has given about 700 rides since March and most have been streamed to his channel on the live video website Twitch, where he goes by the username "JustSmurf", the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. They have come under scrutiny for the oversight of their drivers, which they consider independent contractors and not employees.
He said that at first he had informed passengers that he was recording them, but the videos felt "fake" and "produced".
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The Dean of the Law School at the University of Missouri, Lyrissa Lidsky, said this is not, technically, illegal because Missouri is a one party consent state.
Lyft said in a statement to The Washington Post that "the safety and comfort of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we have deactivated this driver". Sometimes passengers' homes and names were revealed. The company notes on its help page that some cities and states may require drivers to disclose the presence of recording devices while others may bar recording devices.
Gargac said he's trying to "capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers", and he films for security purposes, as well. But their behavior changed with some even acting out for the camera, he told the Post-Dispatch. There has been an upward trend in recording passengers, she said, driven by "good reasons" like ensuring drivers' safety, or being able to vouch for the quality of their service. "I think every one of us would expect that we are private when we're in the back of a taxi, or an Uber, or something like that".
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The report says that Gargac is not the only one doing so without seeking consent of his passengers.
"But the law itself is going to extend to all kinds of recording right now and it hasn't been clarified since livestreaming technology has popped up". Gargac also said he earned about $3,500 over the past five months from viewer subscriptions, donations and tips collected on Twitch.
Twitch explained that they "do not comment on terms of service violations in regards to a specific individuals" and "do not allow people to share content that invades other's privacy".
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