Tesla ‘Massive’ Data Leak Reveals Thousands of Alleged Security Complaints | You’re here

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Whistleblower leaks data revealing customer and employee information, plus complaints about driver assistance system

Caretaker staff and agency

Fri, May 26, 2023 6:08 PM EDT

Tesla has failed to adequately protect customer, employee and business partner data and has received thousands of customer complaints about the automaker’s driver assistance system, Germany’s Handelsblatt reported, citing 100 gigabytes of confidential data disclosed by a whistleblower.

The Handelsblatt report says customer data can be found “in abundance” in a dataset called “Tesla Files”.

The files include tables containing more than 100,000 names of former and current employees, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s social security number, as well as private email addresses, phone numbers, company salaries, and more. employees, customer bank details and secret production details. , according to Handelsblatt.

The breach would violate GDPR, the newspaper said.

The Guardian has not independently verified the documents.

The Brandenburg data protection office, home to Tesla’s European gigafactory, called the data leak “massive”.

“I don’t remember on such a scale,” said Dagmar Hartge, data protection officer in Brandenburg.

If such a violation is proven, Tesla could be fined up to 4% of its annual sales, or 3.26 billion euros.

Citing the leaked files, the newspaper also reported a large number of customer complaints about Tesla’s driver assistance programs, with around 4,000 complaints about sudden acceleration or phantom braking.

German union IG Metall said the revelations were “disturbing” and called on Tesla to inform employees of all data protection breaches and to promote a culture in which staff can raise issues and grievances openly and privately. fear.

“These revelations … match the image we have acquired in just under two years,” said Dirk Schulze, IG Metall’s new district manager for Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony.

Handelsblatt quoted a Tesla attorney as saying a “disgruntled former employee” abused his access as a service technician, adding that the company would take legal action against the person it suspected of the leak.

The data protection watchdog for the Netherlands said on Friday that it was aware of possible breaches of Tesla’s data protection.

“We are aware of the Handelsblatt story and are investigating it,” said a spokesperson for data watchdog AP in the Netherlands, where Tesla’s European headquarters are located.

The agency declined to comment on whether it might or has launched an investigation, citing policy. The Dutch agency was informed by its counterpart in the German Land of Brandenberg.

Handelsblatt said Tesla notified Dutch authorities of the breach, but the AP spokesperson said they were unsure if the company made any representations to the agency.

Tesla was not available for comment on Friday.

Last month, a Reuters report showed that groups of Tesla employees privately shared through an internal messaging system sometimes highly invasive videos and images recorded by customer car cameras between 2019 and 2022.

This week, Facebook’s parent company Meta was hit with a record 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) fine by its top European privacy regulator for its handling of information. of users and was given five months to stop transferring user data to the United States.

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