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I have a dashcam in my car, but I keep hearing I’m not allowed to record passengers unless they know about it, or agree to it. Is that true?

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Jaredhoffa
169 Rider Guru
 Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

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We get asked this question a lot at LegalRideshare and this is how we break it down.

First, we always have to consider, "is a Uber or Lyft a private situation?" We often lean on the side of "no, it's not." It's comparable to taking public transportation like a bus  in a major city. We always tell passengers, "if you wouldn't go outside and scream something  absurd, I wouldn't say it in an Uber". 

The issue lies on the fact that passengers aren't always aware of the laws (or lack thereof) and are looking for their rights to be protected. 


So how do you protect yourself? 

We always recommend getting a sticker for the back window of your car, acknowledging there's a dashcam (we have these stickers, so please reach out and we'll mail them to you). In states like  Illinois, which is two-party consent, this really covers any issue that may arise. It's also important to let riders know this is for their benefit as well, in case of an accident or assault. 


When does it go too far?

A few months ago a driver was livestreaming his passengers on twitch. This is not only a breach of trust, but a guaranteed deactivation. Recording passengers in case of an accident is one thing. Using them for a reality TV show is another. 


You can check out our interview with ABC News where we go into more details about recording passengers. 


Comments

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    Wes
    1574 Rider Driver
     5 months ago

    The "rules" vary by State.  Some states like my own only require that ONE person is aware of the recording device - and that would be ME LOL.  However if I did have a camera, I would post a banner stating that a recording device is in use as I feel this helps "set a tone" for the passengers behavior.

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      CarrieB78
      36
       5 months ago

      Wouldn't there always be at least ONE person aware of the recording? I mean, whoever owns the camera and/or set it up?  LOL.

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    jcgreen79
    170 Rider
     5 months ago

    Isn't this always about the "expectation of privacy."  The question is whether there is one inside an Uber or not.  Can you talk to that more?

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      LG-PA
      811 Driver
       5 months ago

      I would view it in same manner as being on a public transport. Nobody would (normally) expect a public bus or an Uber to offer similar privacy as their bedroom, so there should be no issues with dashcam. The few times I was asked if they were being recorded I said Yes, for everyone's privacy. The dash cam is in plain view. If they ask wheter I am suppose to alert passengers of recording, I tell them that by the virtue of them engaging in conversation with me (in two party consent states) they automatically give their consent. In one party consent I consent myself to record interior of my privately owned vehicle. If they do not like it or ask me to turn it off (never happened yet), next street corner is where their ride ends

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      CarrieB78
      36
       5 months ago

      I'd expect a level of privacy for sure.   Right?   Is that really too  much to ask these days.

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        LG-PA
        811 Driver
         5 months ago

        You mean you expect the same level of privacy on a public bus or Rieshare vehicle as you would from your bedroom?

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          CarrieB78
          36
           5 months ago

          I said a certain "level"  I didn't say "a level expected in a bedroom."

          If I am on a phone in an Uber, I should be able to do it without the fear of it being recorded.

          If I am tired and fall asleep in a cab, I expect some dude to not own a footage of me sleeping.

          If I am wearing a skirt, I expect there to not be a camera in front shooting back towards me.

          Again, is that too much to ask?

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            momof4
            8105 Rider Driver
             5 months ago

            Some drivers do live stream it on You Tube or Twitch. Uber now deactivates drivers who do this. Some drivers were deactivated even though they had permission from the passenger. Assuming the driver is just using it for safety issues I see nothing wrong with that. We basically have no protection while driving for Uber or Lyft. Just the cameras being in the car helps keep most passengers in line. If we are deactivated because of a lie a rider tells that is our only proof that we didnt do what the rider accused us of. If there is an accident that can help prove who was at fault.  More & more insurance companies are using video from drivers in general (not just rideshare) to determine who caused the accident. Lets say its a pool ride and you were inappropriately touched by the other rider. You now have proof versus he said she said. Male drivers transporting females. A female rider may accuse driver of inappropriately touching them or raping  them. Driver has proof it didn...

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            Some drivers do live stream it on You Tube or Twitch. Uber now deactivates drivers who do this. Some drivers were deactivated even though they had permission from the passenger. Assuming the driver is just using it for safety issues I see nothing wrong with that. We basically have no protection while driving for Uber or Lyft. Just the cameras being in the car helps keep most passengers in line. If we are deactivated because of a lie a rider tells that is our only proof that we didnt do what the rider accused us of. If there is an accident that can help prove who was at fault.  More & more insurance companies are using video from drivers in general (not just rideshare) to determine who caused the accident. Lets say its a pool ride and you were inappropriately touched by the other rider. You now have proof versus he said she said. Male drivers transporting females. A female rider may accuse driver of inappropriately touching them or raping  them. Driver has proof it didnt occur.

            As a driver I could care less what you are talking about on the phone let alone going home and watching my riders on video. I am sure most drivers pay no mind to whats on the camera unless Uber deactivates them because of a false claim. If my conversatio is private enough that I dont want it recorded I probably wouldnt even want the driver to hear it. Wearing a skirt or dress I would assume you would be sitting like a lady and your legs would be closed:) Anyone sleeping in our car I wouldnt think would be interesting enough to post on you tube or any other site. Assuming you dont do weird stuff while you sleep. These are our private cars that we need to feel safe in. We are not allowed to carry weapons. Cameras are our only protection.  We are hired to get you safely from Point A to Point B in a timely manner. Cars should be clean drivers should be nice.  Passengers need to realize that you are paying a big discounted rate compared to taxi and limo service. You want personalized rides hire a car service or limo with a professional driver.  I know this may sound harsh but its the reality of it. You get what you pay for. 

            Cameras are everywhere now a days. No where in public is safe. Everyone has a phone and everyone is quick to pull it out and record. People have cameras in their homes and you would never know it. They are disguised as electric outlets, light switches, etc... Anything that you dont want out there for the world to see or hear be careful as someone is always listening, watching, and most likely recording.  

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            LeonardGirsh
             5 months ago

            Actually, yes. 

            Would you come up to a bus driver and ask him to turn the camera off for all the reasons you stated? Would you ask your friend to turn off the camera while you are visiting their house?Remember these are our private cars, and we are recording inside our private cars that we allow you to ride in. Anyway, most cameras are designed to record in 1-3 minute increments and then start recording over the old footage. With no intention of ever viewing or posting these videos anywhere. There are idiot drivers out there of course, but most are just using the cameras For everyone’s safety

            Cameras server as a good deterrent from passengers who try to accuse the driver or a co passenger of wrong doing, etc.

            If you were a passenger in my car and demeaned I turn off the camera, your ride would end at the next street corner ;), because in my mind you were about to commit some BS act;)

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              CarrieB78
              36
               5 months ago

              Good points, Leonard.  I totally understand how drivers need to protect themselves.  With that said, I hope you can understand my point as well. 

              Also, there is a difference in one being recorded versus being "seen" or "heard." This is why there are different set of rules for recording situations. Back to my three points, I don't mind if my driver overheard my conversations or saw me sleeping.  I do mind if the driver took a photo of me or recorded the conversations.

              BTW, I am not sure if I completely agree with your comparison against the bus. I'd like to think that the "level" of expectation would be different on a public bus from a private car.

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                LeonardGirsh
                 5 months ago

                I do understand your concerns indeed, there are idiot drivers out there who use cameras not to just keep everyone safe but to live stream. But back to my argument 

                A bus, a supermarket, bank, a small jewelry store, a cab, a rideshare car all fall under a public space (in my opinion), except the fitting and restrooms obviously.

                Just like a jewelry store owner or any other business, records their  premises for safety, so do the rideshare drivers.

                A rideshare driver is a contractor who in essence runs his/her business and the premises happen to be their vehicles. Thus they have every right to record inside of their premises, just like the bank or jewelry store owner. If as a consumer would come up to a bank manager and ask the surveillance cameras be turned off because consumer feels uncomfortable I think we all know that you would just be asked to bank elsewhere ;) same for drivers. 

                Had we operated Porto Johns and decided to record inside them, yes not allowed. Inside our cars that are operated and open for dressed passengers (public) we can record for everyone’s safety ;)

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    RedANT
    1069 Rider Driver
     5 months ago

    I have a sign posted on the back of the seat headrests,  that state:

    "FOR THE SAFETY OF ALL PERSONS AND TO PREVENT FRAUD, SECURITY CAMERA IS IN USE"

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    CWalcutt75
    252 Driver
     5 months ago

    I feel like there must be a more gray areas between not having a webcam and using the footage for a reality tv.

    What people are worried about are privacy.  Say, their conversations while they talk on the phone or  females being recorded from an "upward" angle.