(CTN News) – Thousands of customer complaints have been received regarding Tesla’s driver assistance system after it failed to adequately protect data from customers, employees, and business partners, according to the German magazine Handelsblatt, citing 100 gigabytes of confidential data exposed by a whistleblower.
An article in Handelsblatt stated that Tesla Files contained “a great deal” of customer information.
The files include tables containing more than 100,000 names of former and current employees, including the social security number of Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, as well as private email addresses, phone numbers, salaries of employees, bank details of customers, and secret production information.
According to the newspaper, the breach would violate the General Data Protection Regulation.
It is not possible for The Guardian to independently verify the documents.
It has been described as a “massive leak” by Brandenburg’s data protection office, which is home to Tesla’s European gigafactory.
Dagmar Hartge, the Brandenburg data protection officer, said she had never seen such a scale before.
The fine could be up to 4% of Tesla’s annual sales, which would amount to €3.26bn ($3.5bn).
4,000 complaints regarding sudden acceleration and phantom braking were also reported in the leaked documents.
According to the German union IG Metall, Tesla should inform employees about all data protection violations and encourage an open dialogue between employees and management.
In my opinion, these revelations are consistent with the picture we have gained in just under two years,” said Dirk Schulze, IG Metall’s incoming district manager.
Reuters reported that a lawyer said a “disgruntled former employee” had abused access to the company’s service technicians, adding that the company would sue the individual.
A Dutch data protection watchdog confirmed on Friday that it was aware of possible Tesla data breaches.
AP data watchdog in the Netherlands, where European headquarters is located, says it is aware of the Handelsblatt story and is investigating it.
As a matter of policy, the agency would not comment on whether an investigation would be launched or had been launched. Brandenburg, a German state, informed the Dutch agency.
An AP spokesperson said they were not aware if Tesla had notified Dutch authorities about the breach.
On Friday, Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
Tesla employees between 2019 and 2022 privately shared videos and images recorded by customers’ car cameras via an internal messaging system, according to a Reuters report last month.
Meta’s lead EU privacy regulator fined Facebook’s parent company €1.2bn over its handling of user information and gave it five months to stop transferring data to the US.
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