Tesla, the electric vehicle company founded by Elon Musk, is facing a class-action lawsuit over alleged privacy intrusion.
The lawsuit, filed in California by a group of Tesla owners, accuses the company of using its cars' cameras and messaging systems to collect data on drivers and passengers without their knowledge or consent. That data, according to Reuters, was shared between employees.
According to the lawsuit, Tesla's cars are equipped with multiple cameras that are used for safety features such as lane departure warnings or automatic emergency braking. However, the plaintiffs argue that Tesla also utilizes these cameras to collect data on drivers and passengers, including their faces, locations, and personal conversations.
The lawsuit is led by San Francisco-based Tesla owner Henry Yeh, who alleges that employees used the videos for "tasteless and tortious entertainment" and "the humiliation of those surreptitiously recorded."
Yeh's lawyers claim that Tesla's collection of this data violates drivers' and passengers' privacy rights and violates the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). As a result of this breach, the plaintiffs are seeking damages and an injunction to prevent Tesla from collecting this type of data in the future.
Employees of Tesla told Reuters that they could see Tesla passengers doing laundry, playing with their children, and "really intimate things."
Tesla has not yet responded to the lawsuit, but the company has previously stated that it uses its cameras to improve the safety and convenience of its vehicles. In a 2019 blog post, Tesla stated that "camera data is only captured in a few specific instances," such as when a driver initiates a feature that requires camera footage or when a safety feature is triggered.
The lawsuit against Tesla highlights the growing concern over data privacy and the role of technology companies in collecting and using personal information. As more devices and services connect to the internet, the amount of personal data being collected and analyzed is increasing, raising questions about who has access to this data and how it is being leveraged.