Tesla has been sued by a California resident in a prospective class action lawsuit accusing the electric car maker of violating the privacy of its customers after a recent report published by Reuters unveiled that groups of Tesla employees allegedly privately shared highly invasive videos and images recorded by customers’ car cameras between 2019 and 2022.
The lawsuit was filed by Henry Yeh, a San Francisco resident who owns a Model Y, at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, who alleges that Tesla employees were able to access the private imagery for their “tasteless and tortious entertainment,” and “the humiliation of those surreptitiously recorded,” as reported by Reuters.
The complaint was filed by Yeh “against Tesla on behalf of himself, similarly-situated class members, and the general public,” with Jack Fitzgerald, an attorney representing Henry Wey, saying in a statement that “Tesla needs to be held accountable for these invasions and for misrepresenting its lax privacy practices to him and other Tesla owners.”
Last week, Reuters published a piece where several former Tesla employees alleged that workers at the car maker’s San Mateo, California office shared videos and images taken from customers’ cars cameras in private one-on-one conversations, including footage of children, crashes, road-rage incidents, and even an instance where a man was approaching a Tesla vehicle completely naked.
The same initial report says that even CEO Elon Musk fell victim to the prying lenses of his car’s cameras. Allegedly, about three years ago, some employees found and shared a video of the white Lotus Esprit that starred in the 1977 James Bond film, “The Spy Who Loved Me,” which was bought by Musk at an auction in 2013.
Now, the recent lawsuit asks the court “to enjoin Tesla from engaging in its wrongful behavior, including violating the privacy of customers and others, and to recover actual and punitive damages.” The lawsuit has not yet received a court date and Tesla has not yet responded to the allegations brought by Henry Yeh.
As a reminder, all new Tesla vehicles are equipped with a series of cameras that are used for multiple purposes, including acting as a dashcam, remote monitoring, and for the vehicle’s so-called Autopilot driver assistance system. For the latter, Tesla admits it occasionally reviews video footage coming out of customer cars to solve issues or just for data labeling purposes, but that the data is anonymized and in no way linked to the owner or the vehicle.
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