Report: Your Tesla May Have Been Spying on You

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

We've often worried about inappropriate surveillance via in-car cameras. Sometimes, I personally wonder if that's irrational paranoia. A new report concerning Tesla suggests it probably isn't.


A report from Reuters via Yahoo News/The Telegraph suggests that Tesla employees were using in-car cameras to view naked Tesla owners and to look into Elon Musk's garage.

Former employees said they watched videos that included a man walking up to his car while nude and a vehicle hitting a child at a high rate of speed. Other videos appeared to peer into consumers' homes, where they saw what Reuters euphemizes as "sexual wellness items" but what you and I would refer to as "sex toys."

These cameras exist to facilitate semi-autonomous driving. Not provide free entertainment to folks in cubicles miles away.

Yet ex-employees told Reuters that these videos were passed around the company's offices in San Mateo, California, via private chats during 2019 and 2020.

Tesla's Customer Privacy Notice says this: “camera recordings remain anonymous and are not linked to you or your vehicle”.

But seven ex-employees told Reuters that the computer program they used in their offices could reveal the location of where videos were shot, in addition to seeing into garages and homes.

Not only did the cameras spy on people -- at one point they found a Lotus submersible car used in a Bond movie parked in a garage.

The owner of that Lotus Espirit, and the garage it was parked in? Elon Musk.

It's unclear if Musk knows about these videos -- he didn't reply to Reuters asking for comment, though the report says Tesla did try to crack down on the sharing sometimes.

Apparently, Tesla workers posted clips from the videos that they thought were funny or interesting. Even though they knew it was a breach of privacy. One said he or she would never buy a Tesla because of the cameras.

Our advice for any Tesla owners out there -- hide your adult toys where they are not in eyeshot of your garage.

[Image: Tesla]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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