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Uber suspends driver who live-streamed St. Louis passengers

ST. LOUIS – Ride-sharing company Uber has suspended a driver who recorded hundreds of St. Louis-area riders without their permission and streamed the live video online.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported 32-year-old Jason Gargac, of Florissant, Missouri, has given about 700 rides in the area since March. Almost all have been streamed to his channel on the live video website Twitch, where he goes by the username “JustSmurf.”

Gargac said he is just trying to “capture the natural interactions between myself and the passengers.”

But some riders said they felt their privacy had been violated. Of about a dozen the newspaper interviewed, all said they didn’t know they were livestreamed and wouldn’t have consented.

After the story’s publication, Uber said it was suspending his use of the app due to “troubling behavior.”

At the end of a 90-minute in-person interview with the Post-Dispatch, Gargac asked that his full name not be published in connection with this story.

The Post-Dispatch already knew his name. He said it in one of his own videos, and his identity was later confirmed through public records and social media accounts. He gave a reporter his business card.

“Stick with my first name, if you can, because privacy concerns,” he said. “You know, the internet is a crazy place.”

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com