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Tesla Lawsuit Over Employees Sharing Car Camera Recordings

Tesla employees used cameras in the cars

Tesla is facing a class action lawsuit. This is over allegations its employees shared images from its electric vehicles (EV).

Plaintiffs claim Tesla employees used cameras in the cars to share private images. There were reports of several images shared being intrusive. One showed an owner approaching their car naked. Others showed drivers venting their anger. A video of a car accident was reportedly shared as well.

The lawsuit was reportedly filed in California. It alleged that Tesla broke privacy laws.

Allegations of employees having access to these images were first reported by Reuters. The news agency quoted several former Tesla employees. They admitted staff shared them using the company’s internal messaging system.

Tesla’s electric vehicles have many cameras onboard. These help with self-driving features like Autopilot. The cameras are integral to the EV’s driving help capability too. This was especially noted on the company’s website. It also assured car owners that the vehicles are all designed to safeguard their privacy.

Reuters discovered that wasn’t the case. They revealed in a special report that the image sharing happened between 2019 and 2022. The images ranged from the mundane to the invasive.

There were photos of dogs shared that were then turned by employees into memes. But images of Elon Musk’s home and a man approaching his vehicle naked were also shared. Employees also shared videos of road-rage incidents and car crashes. One former employee said a crash video involving a child spread like a wildfire.

The lawsuit was already filed by Henry Yeh on behalf of other affected drivers. Yeh, who also owns a Model Y EV, demands financial compensation and legal costs. The case was then filed right after reports of the image sharing surfaced.

The lawsuit claims the collection of images breaks California privacy laws. It also stated that the class members have expectations of privacy in their vehicles. Especially as Tesla’s policy stated it wouldn’t exploit the images captured inside its EVs. The suit also stated these intrusions on customer privacy were very offensive.

A former Tesla employee admitted the images collected were anonymous. But it contained location data. This means the people captured on camera can become identified.

Tesla drivers who have leased or bought a Tesla from 2019 onwards can join the case. The class action lawsuit aims to push Tesla to compensate them. They are demanding payment for the partial or whole cost of the EVs. The specific amount is to be set at the trial.

The lawsuit is also asking the court to order Tesla’s intrusions to stop. They want to halt the recording and sharing of images. It also insists that personal data must become destroyed.

Tesla hasn’t responded to the allegations.

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