Tesla is facing a lawsuit brought by a customer after it was revealed Tesla employees shared images and videos from customers’ car cameras. According to a report by Reuters, private recordings were shared amongst employees in chat rooms.
Ex-employees who spoke to Reuters explained the footage varied from embarrassing situations such as a naked man approaching a Tesla vehicle, to crashes involving children, and road-rage incidents. At the other end of the spectrum, pictures of dogs, and images turned into memes were shared in group chats.
One former employee said to Reuters, “it was a breach of privacy, to be honest. And I always joked that I would never buy a Tesla after seeing how they treated some of these people.”
Another commented, “I’m bothered by it because the people who buy the car, I don’t think they know that their privacy is, like, not respected … We could see them doing laundry and really intimate things. We could see their kids.”
Tesla’s privacy notice states, “no one but you would have knowledge of your activities, location or a history of where you’ve been.” However, Reuters reports, seven former Tesla employees said an internal computer programme could show recording locations. This information along with identifying landmarks picked up by car cameras could reveal where a customer lives.
A former employee also said that cameras showed into people’s garages and onto their properties, commenting “let’s say that a Tesla customer had something in their garage that was distinctive, you know, people would post those kinds of things.”
In response to this report, Californian resident Henry Yeh, who owns a Tesla Model Y has initiated a prospective class action lawsuit against Tesla. The lawsuit accuses the manufacturer of violating the privacy of its customers. A lawyer representing Yeh said, “Like anyone would be, Mr Yeh was outraged at the idea that Tesla’s cameras can be used to violate his family’s privacy, which the California Constitution scrupulously protects.”
The suit also highlights the importance children’s privacy, stating, “Indeed, parents’ interest in their children’s privacy is one of the most fundamental liberty interests society recognizes.” As of yet, Tesla hasn’t commented on the Reuters report or lawsuit.