Tesla Employees Passed Around Embarrassing Images and Videos—What Does This Mean for You?
We all have a right to privacy. Even in today’s world, where phones track everything we do and public cameras capture a shocking amount of data, there are places and situations where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Think about everything you do in your car or in view of your car—and now think of those images being spread around random group chats. Picking your nose, singing loudly and off-key, and baby-talking your dog in the front seat next to you—these are just a few of the embarrassing moments Tesla employees could have had access to, and those are some of the tamest examples. That’s why the team at The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry is so passionate about Southern California consumers’ rights.
At The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry, we protect clients’ rights in a variety of ways. Our lawyers have fought against the mishandling of Social Security numbers, misuse of employment records, and the wrongful selling of consumer information. If your privacy has been violated, we’re here to help. Call our firm at 562-216-2944.
Private Chats Allowed Media to Spread
As Tesla starts to do damage control after reports that employees spread sensitive images via private and group chats, some think it may be too little, too late. It’s widely known that Tesla vehicles have cameras installed to help with autonomous driving, although that feature is not yet available. Tesla has claimed again and again that the data gathered is anonymous and not tied to a vehicle or owner. Some former employees tell a different story. They say that the program they used to process recordings showed the location of a recording, which would make it fairly easy to narrow down a specific user or vehicle.
The videos and images shared vary widely. In some cases, employees shared amusing signs or photos of pets. In others, they shared shocking footage of accidents or road rage incidents.
Even When Your Car’s Off, You May Not Be Safe
To those who are particularly jaded about their privacy in today’s ever-connected world, these scenarios may not sound too bad yet. It gets worse, though: in many cases, photos and video footage came from times when a vehicle was parked and turned off. Former employees spoke of seeing the inside of people’s garages, seeing into their homes, and even watching their children walk around. Although Tesla has since stopped gathering footage when vehicles are turned off, that’s still years of data that was gathered and saved.
Data Used for Training AI
It’s clear that using this footage to make memes, mock drivers, gasp over crashes, or gape at people’s homes is the misuse of vehicle footage. What, then, is the reason for this footage? As Tesla develops its self-driving and self-parking technology, it relies on an enormous databank of footage. Most of the time, this footage is processed by computers. It is used to teach cars how to identify pedestrians, other road obstacles, and road signs. But the company also employs hundreds of employees who manually look at this data and categorize it.
The Rights of Vehicle Owners and Passersby
This report, which has been picked up by a flurry of publications, is worrying everyone—not just Tesla drivers. After all, it isn’t just driver behavior that the cameras are picking up. If you happen to cross the road with your child in front of a Tesla, your child’s face could end up circulating in group chats if their facial expression is funny enough. In one video, a fully naked man approaches a Tesla vehicle in a parking lot. Drivers may not know how much privacy they are giving up, but passersby don’t even have the option of preserving their privacy. By virtue of being near a Tesla, they become part of Tesla’s databank.
Have Your Rights Been Violated? Contact the Consumer Rights Lawyers at the Law Offices of Robin D. Perry
It doesn’t matter if your data is being used for innocent purposes, such as pointing out funny storefront signs or unusually adorable dogs. It’s still a violation of privacy and you deserve to know your legal options. If a company has overstepped its boundaries, let’s talk about your next steps. Reach out to us online or call us at 562-216-2944 to set up a consultation with a consumer rights attorney about your privacy violation case.
Attorney Robin D. Perry has been part of the Long Beach Community for over 25 years handling business litigation, employment litigation and advising, criminal defense, personal injury and code enforcement defense for businesses.