Data Leak Reveals a Worldwide Problem for Tesla - This Is Bad


Tesla has often advised customers not to rely on the autopilot mode in its company print.

Customers have filed more than 2,400 complaints regarding self-acceleration issues and 1,500 complaints about braking problems between 2015 and March 2022, according to a report Thursday by the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

Handelsblatt obtained access to data from Tesla’s information technology system, revealing reports of unintended emergency braking and sudden acceleration.

While most of these incidents had minor consequences, some resulted in fatal outcomes.

The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Sebastian Matthes, explained that the exclusive data used for the report was sourced from multiple informants and comprised a significant amount of information, totaling 100 gigabytes and consisting of 23,398 files.

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A team spent six months analyzing the files to compile the report.

The Verge reported the development Thursday.

The reports not only shed light on Tesla’s autopilot issues but also raised concerns about weak data protection within the company. The informants were able to access files without significant restrictions, leading to the leak of sensitive information.

The leaked data reportedly included employee salaries, customer bank details and CEO Elon Musk’s Social Security number, as well as details about Tesla’s autopilot system and its upcoming Cybertruck.

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The informants responsible for the leak also reached out to the data protection officer of Brandenburg, the federal state where Tesla’s German Gigafactory is located.

State data protection officer Dagmar Hartge acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations and noted that if true, the data breach would impact a significant number of individuals globally.

The case has been forwarded to privacy advocates in the Netherlands for further investigation.

Handelsblatt contacted Tesla for comment. The company demanded the deletion of the leaked data and accused the newspaper of data theft.

“Tesla rigorously protects its confidential information and the personal information of its employees and customers. We intend to initiate legal proceedings against this individual for his theft of Tesla’s confidential information and employees’ personal data,” Tesla wrote in a response published by the paper.

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The company reportedly filed a report with the Dutch data protection authority and plans to take legal action in response to the data leak. Its legal representative attributed the leaked information to a “disgruntled former employee.”

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software suite has been the subject of widespread criticism over its safety, but several analysts have said its vehicles are much safer than an average American car.

The electric vehicle giant reportedly restarted the rollout of its FSD Beta to new testers this week after a months-long pause triggered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recalls affecting 362,758 vehicles equipped with the software.

On Thursday, Tesla shares closed up 0.86 percent at $184.47 in the regular session, and they were up 0.45 percent in Friday’s premarket, according to data from Benzinga Pro.

Produced in association with Benzinga.

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