Tesla, under suspicion in Germany for data protection


A German consumer association accused the US manufacturer Tesla of deficiencies in the data privacy of its electric vehicles, as well as misleading claims about the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The federation of consumer organizations VZBV, one of the most important in Germany, indicated on Tuesday that it had initiated “legal action against Tesla in the Berlin court.”

In a statement, the association warns of the cameras of Elon Musk’s electric cars.

Tesla customers are unaware that information about the use of sentinel mode, whereby cameras monitor the surroundings of the car, violates European data privacy laws, VZBV explained.

In the new models of the manufacturer, the cameras record what happens inside, but also outside, allowing the vehicle to be tracked when it is stationary.

Users of this function “must obtain the consent of passers-by near the car for the processing of their personal data,” said Heiko Dünkel, a lawyer at VZBV.

Therefore, it is “virtually impossible” to comply with data protection regulations while using this function, added Dünkel, who warned that drivers “run the risk of receiving fines”.

According to VZBV, Tesla also misleads its customers with advertisements touting the climate benefits of buying its cars.

The US carmaker’s sale of “emissions credits” to competing companies meant other automakers could “emit more,” which was not made clear to buyers, according to the consumer association.

Tesla this year opened its first factory in Europe on the outskirts of Berlin. The manufacturer wants to produce some 500,000 vehicles a year in the German capital.