Monday, July 15

Uber/Lyft Passengers Secretly Livestreamed Gets Driver Suspended

Ridesharing services Uber and Lyft have done a great deal of good in expanding the definition and convenience of transportation. With these newer technologies come the growing pains that are associated with uncharted waters. Lyft and Uber both have made great strides in keeping their user bases, both passengers and drivers, safe, above reproach, and as comfortable using their services as possible. But, there are exceptions.

On a night out, it’s safe for groups of friends who’ve been out drinking together to share one of the ride services home for the night. Uber and Lyft driver Jason Gargac had another idea. Gargac drives a big Chevy Silverado, perfect for picking up large groups after bar hopping. A new truck might cost an average of $40,696, but you can’t put a price on good content. He rigged his windshield with a rear-facing camera that recorded video and audio of his passengers and himself during the drives. And live streamed them online.

Many drivers have rear-facing cameras for their safety and the safety of their passengers. Gargac, however, had other intentions of turning his passengers from people trying to go home to entertaining content. The amount of internet connected devices is projected to rise from 13 billion to 50 billion by 2020. Thus, with his WiFi enabled truck and a couple cameras, he live-streamed most of his 700 rides on Twitch, a cloud video service that allows subscribers to watch anything from video game play to DIY crafts to — now — unknowing Uber and Lyft passengers.

And they were most certainly watched. He gained thousands of subscribers and made money through Twitch subscriptions and viewer donations. He even promoted his drive-streams on his personal Twitter account. After it was revealed that he was doing this, there was outrage. Uber and Lyft both released statements after parting ways with the driver who partnered with both services.

“The troubling behavior in the videos is not in line with our Community Guidelines. We have ended our partnership with this driver,” said Uber.

“The safety and comfort of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we have deactivated this driver,” Lyft remarked.

This highlights the troublesome ways technology can be used. While Office 365 is making waves in the business world as a leading cloud application, people are having their privacy breached in ridesharing services and hosted live, without consent, on cloud services like Twitch. The site has since removed all of Gargac’s content and disabled his page, but 700 rides is a long time for something like that to be active.

This was all in a legal grey area, too. Because he was driving in the state of Missouri, they have a law that only requires one person’s consent to be filmed as a group. Traveling together in Gargac’s vehicle, who was also in the recordings, he used his own consent as the one. Reprehensible, perhaps, but unclear whether he broke the law.

“The behavior by the driver is clearly wrong, but the companies make it very hard to win damages against them for this,” explained attorney Chip Stewart, referencing user terms agreed to by riders for both apps.

Astonishing us still more, Gargac was looking for a job as a police officer while driving for Uber and Lyft. What will become of that search we have yet to find out. When all of this came to surface, his name began getting attention we can bet he isn’t thrilled about. Talking to one newspaper he even went so far as try and protect his own privacy.

“Stick with my first name, if you can, because privacy concerns. You know, the internet is a crazy place,” he said, perhaps not remembering he said his own name in his own live-streams.

Good one, Gargac. You’ve made your content, now you can lie in it.

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