A former service technician for Tesla has allegedly leaked 100GB of company data to the German newspaper Handelsblatt. The data includes sensitive personal information about Tesla employees, customer data, complaints about the company’s autonomous driving technology, and more.
Dubbed the “Tesla Files,” company lawyers blamed the massive leak was blamed on a “disgruntled former employee” who abused their position as a service technician. Reuters reports that Tesla could face a fine of up to 4% of its annual sales for failing to adequately protect the data from customers, employees, and business partners.
The 100GB of data contains more than 100,000 names of current and former Tesla employees. Other information includes social security numbers, private email addresses, phone numbers, and even salaries of employees. Tesla customers also have something to worry about because some banking details were also contained in the leak.
Perhaps the most embarrassing for Tesla is the disclosure of customer complaints about the company’s Full Self-Driving features. Handelsblatt reports that Tesla customers submitted more than 2,400 self-acceleration problems and 1,500 braking issues. The braking issues included 139 “unintentional emergency braking” reports and 383 “phantom stops” resulting from false collision warnings. Handelsblatt’s headline features the complaint, “My autopilot almost killed me” (translated from German).
When the publication reached out to Tesla for comment, the company replied that the data be deleted and “spoke of data theft,” according to a note from Handelsblatt editor-in-chief Sebastian Matthes as reported by The Verge.
While the complete story is behind a paywall on (and in German) Handelsblatt’s website, there is a very detailed roundup of everything in the story in the below Twitter thread.
🧵Big story in 🇩🇪 Handelsblatt on so called #Tesla files out today
Leak of 100GB of internal #Tesla data to HB at the end of 2022. >23.000 files, partly private data
Tesla to take legal action & filed a notification w/ Dutch data protection authorityhttps://t.co/rEVWR8gaX6 pic.twitter.com/GD88g2uBgP
— Berlinergy (@Berlinergy) May 25, 2023
Review Geek has reached out to Tesla for comment.
Sources: Handelsblatt, The Verge, Reuters