St. Louis Uber and Lyft Driver Secretly Live-Streamed Passengers, Report Says

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“I’ve had a few offline conversations with some folks, and they suggested getting rid of the stored vods as step #1 of trying to calm everyone down,” he said, referring to on-demand videos on Twitch. “I’ve done that,” he added, “for now.”

His story appears to be full of contradictions. Mr. Gargac live-streamed people without their knowledge as he tried to become a police officer. He started driving in order to record and broadcast people. He asked a Post-Dispatch reporter to not use his full name in the story, to protect his privacy.

The story also raises a host of 21st-century questions about technology, when people should expect privacy and the business models of ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber. They have come under scrutiny for the oversight of their drivers, which they consider independent contractors and not employees.

“Fundamentally, exposing people, especially women, to random people on the internet is mean and it’s wrong,” said Alex Rosenblat, a researcher at the nonprofit think tank Data and Society.

Ms. Rosenblat, who is writing a book called “Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work,” said she had studied the company for four years. 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.

“What we’re seeing with this driver is just a totally different game,” she said. “This is, ‘How can I monetize passengers as content?’”

Missouri law allows a person to record others without their consent, said Ari Waldman, director of New York Law School’s Innovation Center for Law and Technology. He said victims could theoretically sue for invasion of privacy, but “would need to show that the back of an Uber is a place where we can and should be expected to be private.”

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