How to Check Hidden Cameras on Uber or Lyft

At least one Uber and Lyft driver has been streaming passengers without their consent, according to a recent article in St. Louis Post-Dispatch . Twitch viewers ranked female passengers, speculated about income, and chatted about marriage and the love life of unsuspecting sharing service users.

According to the Post-Dispatch, there have already been at least two other known cases of drivers converting their passengers into live streams, sometimes with consent and sometimes without consent, including in California and one in Wisconsin.

Although we could all take a deep breath and admit that these are a couple of seriously unethical cases from the sheer amount of usually harmless daily commuting provided by travel exchange companies. However, this is a serious breach of privacy and a potential safety hazard for riders.

A driver in St. Louis has been dropped from Lyft and Uber according to both companies’ statements to Post-Dispatch, so you won’t run into one, but what else can you do to avoid privacy intrusion while riding comfortably?

First, a good start is simply knowing the risk. Look for cameras and ask questions about labels that mention recording equipment. The sticker on the rear of the vehicle in question read: “Note. For safety reasons, this car is equipped with audio and video recorders. Consent is given upon entering the vehicle. ” The passengers interviewed said they did not notice this. Knowing about potential notifications like this can help make sure you know how to avoid them, or ask the driver to turn off the camera for your trip.

However, one of the troubling aspects of the story in question is that when the driver was specifically asked about the presence of dashboard cameras, he lied and dismissed them as recording devices “for safety reasons.” While traditional taxi companies often install cameras ostensibly for the safety of drivers (and with signs to notify you of their presence), you should be suspicious of any camera pointed at you in a Lyft or Uber vehicle.

If there is a sticker mentioning the recording or observation, and you are uncomfortable with taking off, refuse this trip. Cameras are not company policy and if you are not given the option to turn off recording / streaming, book another ride. It is also recommended to report this to the company and mention it in your rating. If it doesn’t matter to the company, at least you can report it to other riders.

Unfortunately, cameras can be hidden, and it is unlikely that a driver walking in that direction will post a friendly warning sticker outside the vehicle. So it is “to ride at your own risk …” and probably not to take off all your clothes.


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