Cameras and privacy, Tesla implicated in Germany over data protection

Cameras and privacy, Tesla implicated in Germany over data protection data


The American manufacturer Tesla is the subject of an action by a German consumer association which accuses it of inadequacies in terms of confidentiality of data on its electric cars and misleading claims on CO2 emission reductions . 

Consumer association VZBV, one of the country's largest, said on Tuesday that it had “brought legal action against Tesla in the Berlin court”.

In a statement, the association sounds the alarm about the cameras of Elon Musk's electric cars.

Tesla customers are not informed that the use of sentry mode, in which cameras monitor the surroundings of the car, is contrary to European data privacy laws, says the VZBV.

In the new models of the manufacturer, cameras film what is happening inside but also outside so as to allow monitoring of the stationary vehicle.

Users of this function “should obtain the consent of passers-by near the car for the processing of their personal data,” said Heiko Dünkel, head of litigation at the VZBV.

It is therefore “virtually impossible to comply with data protection rules while using the feature, and drivers “risk fines,” Dünkel added.

According to the VZBV, Tesla also misled customers with advertisements that tout the climate benefits of buying its cars.

The US automaker's sale of “emissions credits” to competing companies meant that other automakers could “emit more,” which was not made clear to buyers, according to the consumer association.

Tesla opened its first European factory this year on the outskirts of Berlin. The manufacturer wants to eventually produce some 500,000 vehicles there per year.