Tesla faces a new class action lawsuit after a former employee released a report detailing alleged customer privacy violations.
In a startling report earlier this week, Reuters released information given to it by a previous Tesla employee, alleging that a group of workers at the automaker were privately sharing pictures and videos captured by customer vehicles between 2019 and 2022. Now, a Tesla Model Y owner in San Francisco has sued the automaker for privacy violations, which could dramatically affect the overall industry’s data privacy policies.
Henry Yeh, a current Model Y owner in the San Francisco, California area, has sued Tesla over the aforementioned privacy violations. In his suit, Yeh states he is suing on behalf of “himself and similarly-situated class members, and the general public.” The Tesla legal team has yet to respond to the allegations.
In a comment to Reuters, Yeh’s lawyer Jack Fitzgerald states, “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. Tesla needs to be held accountable for these invasions and for misrepresenting its lax privacy practices to him and other Tesla owners.”
This is not the first time Tesla has faced allegations of privacy breaches stemming from their vehicle cameras. Most recently, Tesla has been forced to introduce new privacy-oriented features and change its “sentry mode advertising” in Germany following a similar lawsuit.
It should be noted that while Europe and the EU generally have stricter data privacy laws, especially regarding the recording and photo-taking of citizens, the act of employees accessing this data in the United States may still be illegal.
The lawsuit from Henry Yeh has not received a court date, nor did Yeh’s attorney specify what the damages could amount to. However, in the case released by Yeh, he is seeking payment for both actual and punitive damages, which would likely add up to millions, depending on the scope of the alleged privacy violations.