A lawsuit has been filed against Tesla, alleging that its employees distributed private photos and images captured by the cameras in customers’ vehicles, violating their privacy.
After a report by Reuters disclosed that Tesla employees had shared “highly invasive videos and images” captured by customers’ car cameras between 2019 and 2022, a Tesla car owner filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of California on Friday.
The report revealed that Tesla employees had access to the private camera recordings of the cars, which were initially intended to improve the company’s self-driving capabilities.
The lawsuit also claims that the cameras in Tesla’s cars recorded “sensitive” scenes in private spaces such as users’ garages and homes, where the cars were sometimes parked.
The suit also alleges that some of the recordings were made after the Tesla vehicles had been parked and turned off, as referenced by an anonymous employee.
According to Reuters, two US senators have sent a letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, raising concerns about the data privacy breach involving the sharing of private images and videos captured by customers’ car cameras.
The letter, written by Senators Edward J. Markey and Richard Blumenthal, expressed broader concern about consumer data privacy.
The senators criticized Tesla’s “willful disregard” for its customers’ privacy and called into question the company’s management practices.
They urged Tesla to take necessary steps to ensure that any images or videos collected with customer consent are subject to strict privacy safeguards.
According to a former Tesla employee, some of the shared videos may have been recorded while the vehicles were turned off, allowing access to customers’ private properties and garages.
In addition to expressing their concern about the privacy breach, the senators have demanded that Elon Musk responds to a series of questions related to the incident by May 5th.
The questions address whether Tesla executives were aware of the practice of breaching customer data, why corporate policies failed to prevent such incidents, and whether Tesla is committed to improving customer data privacy, including ensuring that videos cannot be used to identify customers’ locations.