Tesla questioned in Germany on data protection because of the cameras of its cars

Elon Musk’s electric car cameras are in the eye of the storm. The American manufacturer Tesla is the subject of an action by the German association VZBV which accuses it of inadequacies in terms of confidentiality of data on its cars and misleading assertions on CO2 emission reductions.

The consumer association, one of the main in the country, said on Tuesday that it had “brought legal action against Tesla in the Berlin court”.

Passers-by filmed near cars

Tesla customers are not told that using sentry mode, in which cameras monitor the car’s surroundings, violates European data privacy laws, VZBV said. In the new models of the manufacturer, cameras film what is happening inside but also outside so as to allow monitoring of the vehicle when stationary.

Users of this function “should obtain the consent of passers-by near the car for the processing of their personal data”, said Heiko Dünkel, head of litigation at the VZBV. It is therefore “virtually impossible” to comply with data protection rules while using this function, and drivers “risk fines”, added Heiko Dünkel.

Misleading claims about CO2?

According to the VZBV, Tesla has also misled its customers with advertisements that tout the climate benefits of buying its cars. The US carmaker’s sale of “emissions credits” to competing companies meant that other automakers could “emit more”, which was not made clear to buyers, according to the consumer association.

Note that Tesla opened its first European factory this year on the outskirts of Berlin. The manufacturer wants to eventually produce some 500,000 vehicles there per year.

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