Uber drivers will need consent to record passengers in Canada

Published: July 31, 2018

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A controversial story arose in St. Louis in the United States last week. A driver working for Uber and Lyft was secretly recording hundreds of passengers through their trips and live streaming to online video streaming platform Twitch.

Under Missouri law, the man was within his legal rights to do this. However, experts have warned Canadian ride-hailing drivers that doing the same thing north of the border would be against the law.

"Certainly it would run afoul of all of our privacy laws," warned privacy lawyer David Fraser, a partner with the Halifax law firm McInnes Cooper.

Canadian law states that consent must be explicit. The same applies in the U.S., but the law is laxer, and Jason Gargac was able to gain consent from his passengers by using a sticker on his car window. The sticker told the passengers they were being recorded, but many of them may not have noticed it.

Fraser says under Canadian law; the consent would need to be informed and explicit. Brenda McPhail of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association argued none of the passengers would have consented had they had seen the sticker. In Canada, a driver would also have to be explicit about what recordings are for. If the consent was for the recordings to be used for security, they couldn’t’ be used in another capacity:

"It wouldn't be our expectation yet, in this day and age, that when you see a camera, you're going to be streaming live on the internet, and somebody's going to be monetizing that," Fraser said.

"I think most people would feel differently intruded upon, and more intruded upon if it's recorded and broadcast than if it's just observed."