‘Massive’ Tesla Data Breach Reveals Thousands of Alleged Security Complaints | Tesla


Whistleblower leaks data revealing customer and employee information, plus driver assistance system complaints

Guardian staff and agency

Fri May 26, 2023 6:08 PM EDT

Tesla has failed to adequately protect customer, employee and business partner data and has received thousands of customer complaints about the automaker’s driver assistance system, Germany’s Handelsblatt reports, citing 100 gigabytes of confidential data leaked by a whistleblower.

The Handelsblatt report said customer data can be found “in abundance” in a dataset labeled “Tesla Files.”

The files contain tables of more than 100,000 names of former and current employees, including the social security number of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, along with private email addresses, phone numbers, employee salaries, customer banking information, and secret production details. . according to Handelsblatt.

The breach would be in violation of the GDPR, according to the newspaper.

The Guardian has not independently verified the documents.

The data protection agency in Brandenburg, home to Tesla’s European gigafactory, described the data breach as “massive”.

“I can’t recall such a scale,” said Dagmar Hartge, Brandenburg’s data protection officer.

If such a violation is proven, Tesla could be fined up to 4% of its annual sales, which equates to €3.26 billion ($3.5 billion).

Citing the leaked files, the newspaper also reported on large numbers of customer complaints about Tesla’s driver assistance tools, with about 4,000 complaints about sudden acceleration or phantom braking.

German trade union IG Metall said the revelations were “disturbing” and called on Tesla to inform employees of all data protection violations and promote a culture where employees can openly raise concerns and grievances without fear.

“These revelations… fit the picture we’ve been getting in just under two years,” said Dirk Schulze, IG Metall’s incoming district manager for Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony.

Handelsblatt quoted a Tesla lawyer as saying that a “disgruntled ex-employee” abused their access as a service technician, adding that the company would take legal action against the person it suspected of the leak.

The data protection watchdog for the Netherlands said on Friday it was aware of Tesla’s potential data protection breaches.

“We are aware of the Handelsblatt story and are investigating it,” said a spokesperson for the AP data watchdog in the Netherlands, where Tesla’s European headquarters are located.

The agency declined any comment on whether it could or has launched an investigation, citing policy. The Dutch agency was informed by its counterpart in the German state of Brandenburg.

Handelsblatt said Tesla notified Dutch authorities of the breach, but the AP spokesman said they did not know if the company had taken any steps with the agency.

Tesla could not be reached for comment Friday.

Last month, a Reuters report found that between 2019 and 2022, groups of Tesla employees privately shared sometimes highly invasive videos and images from customer car cameras via an internal messaging system.

This week, Facebook’s parent company Meta was fined a record €1.2 billion by the leading EU privacy regulator for handling user information and given five months to stop transferring user data to the US.

Leave a comment