Jason Gargac, based in St. Louis, US, talked about his videos in an interview with The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday. Nearly all have been streamed to his channel on the live video website Twitch, where he goes by the username "JustSmurf".
"I try to capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers - what a Lyft and Uber ride actually is", he said".
He said that at first he had informed passengers that he was recording them, but the videos felt "fake" and "produced". Some of the thousands of conversations Gargac recorded revealed passengers' full names and where they lived, according to the Post Dispatch.
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While Missouri law allows a person to film another without their consent-so Gargac was not breaking the law-Uber has nonetheless chose to suspend him from their app, calling the revelations "troubling", reports Business Insider.
The story also raises a host of 21st-century questions about technology, when people should expect privacy and the business models of ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber. The Twitch videos were subsequently removed, and Gargac's tweets are now private.
There's no indication that Mr Gargac's conduct was illegal as Missouri is a one-party consent.
Alexandra LaManna, a spokesperson for Lyft, said, "The safety and comfort of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we have deactivated this driver". Gargac said he earned $3,500 from his streaming.
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"In terms of this particular person, we do not comment on Terms of Service violations in regards to specific individuals", Twitch said in a statement to UPI.
Uber told the Post-Dispatch that Gargac's behavior was "troubling" and that the videos were not in line with its community standards.
Gargac livestreamed people without their knowledge as he tried to become a police officer. "The driver's access to the app has been removed while we evaluate his partnership with Uber". According to the Post-Dispatch, Gargac displayed a small sticker on the back passenger window informing passengers that his vehicle was "equipped with audio and visual recording devices" for security purposes.
"I feel violated. I'm embarrassed", one passenger told the newspaper, who asked that her name be withheld. Before his channel was taken down, Gargac had 4,500 followers and about 100 subscribers, who paid $5 a month to watch his uploads. "I didn't like it", he said.
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