A Tesla owner is suing the carmaker for alleged privacy violations after employees reportedly shared sensitive images from vehicle cameras


A Tesla owner sued the company on Friday in a prospective class action lawsuit, accusing Elon Musk’s electric vehicle maker of violating customers’ privacy. 

The lawsuit follows a Reuters report that some Tesla employees allegedly shared sensitive images and videos recorded by the vehicles, including ones from inside customers’ garages—and even one of a naked man approaching a vehicle.

Fortune reached out to Tesla outside normal business hours but received no immediate reply.

According to the Reuters report, groups of employees used an internal messaging system to share highly invasive images from 2019 to 2022.

Henry Yeh, who owns a Model Y and lives in San Francisco, filed the lawsuit, with his attorney, Jack Fitzgerald, stating: “Like anyone would be, Mr. Yeh was outraged at the idea that Tesla’s cameras can be used to violate his family’s privacy, which the California Constitution scrupulously protects.” 

The lawsuit alleges Tesla employees could access highly invasive images for their “tortious entertainment” and “the humiliation of those surreptitiously recorded.” Yeh was filing the complaint “against Tesla on behalf of himself, similarly-situated class members, and the general public.” 

Tesla equips its vehicles with an impressive array of cameras that can be helpful in a number of ways, such as proving who was at fault in an accident and helping with features such as Autopilot and Autopark. But they can also capture moments that are private or potentially embarrassing, particularly in customers’ garages. 

Tesla’s customer privacy notice reads: “Your privacy is and will always be enormously important to us…camera recordings remain anonymous and are not linked to you or your vehicle.”

But the cameras have raised privacy concerns in other nations. Earlier this year Tesla agreed to change camera settings on vehicles sold in the European Union after a Dutch privacy regulator stated the previous settings allowed privacy violations.

“If a person parked one of these vehicles in front of someone’s window, they could spy inside and see everything the other person was doing,” Katja Mur, a Dutch regulator board member, said in a statement.

In the EU, cameras now no longer continuously record around a car. They remain disabled by default, unless a user turns on recording.

David Choffnes, executive director of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute at Northeastern University in Boston, told Reuters that, in the U.S., Tesla employees sharing sensitive videos could be deemed a violation of the company’s privacy policy and trigger intervention by the privacy regulator Federal Trade Commission. 


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