September 20th, 2020 by Johnna Crider
There is some new FUD about Tesla and its camera system. TZ Munich posed the question as to whether or not Tesla cameras violate German data protection requirements. A political magazine, Kontraste, reported that the cameras record the interior and surroundings of the car and that hardly anything remains hidden from Tesla. It also noted that the driver can’t control what type of personal data is stored by Tesla.
This is absurd. CCTV cameras are literally everywhere in public, from stores to buildings (especially government buildings) & private homes, and cover a much larger area than a Tesla (whether traveling or parked). pic.twitter.com/7HuWxsH737
— Viv 🐉 (@flcnhvy) September 18, 2020
“If a vehicle drives in the public traffic area and constantly records all the others, that is a clear data protection violation,” data protection officer of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Stefan Brink, told Kontraste. It seems that other Germain media outlets are picking up on this. To some, the idea of an entity watching your every move sounds frightening, but the thing is — it’s already happening, and that entity isn’t Tesla.
Tesla vehicles are the personal property of whoever owns the car. In the US and Europe, some people put cameras on their personal property as a way to protect it. Businesses often use them too, as do ATM machines. Although the article worries what Tesla would do with such data, one has to wonder why they would be more concerned about Tesla than a government entity or other business with such info.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is a type of surveillance of the public that many businesses and countries in the world use. Wikipedia points out that there are around 350 million surveillance cameras worldwide as of 2016. The majority are installed in Asia. “The deployment of this technology has facilitated a significant growth in state surveillance, a substantial rise in the methods of advanced social monitoring and control, and a host of crime prevention measures throughout the world,” Wikipedia noted.
Another application could be Tesla – Surveillance as a service, providing real time data to the Governments, defense contractors, traffic control design and monitoring companies. Users could opt in or out of such feature for compensation?
— Gujjubhai (@Gujjubhai9) September 18, 2020
One idea, as noted above, could result in Tesla creating yet another service — collecting data on a secure server. Elon Musk is not the type to sell that kind of thing, especially to organizations that would use that data against those being observed — especially if the person is not committing a crime. CCTV isn’t, in my opinion, a bad thing if used right, but if we are going to be scared of someone watching us, I’d be more scared of what’s out there than of Tesla.
At least Tesla camera data is secure. There are millions of cameras out there that are basically open to the world, and can even be hacked to break into your network. https://t.co/SvK2KG2uMb.
— Richard Laxton (@rlaxton) September 18, 2020
One thing that was noted was the fact that Tesla camera data is secure, whereas hackers can easily access a CCTV camera. Just typing “hack CCTV camera” in a google search bar is pretty enlightening. In the article that was shared in the tweet above, the author also highlighted five cybersecurity lessons that are related to IP security cameras such as Google’s Nest Cam IQ indoor camera.
Is This A Legitimate Concern About Tesla Cameras Or Just More FUD?
It should be noted that Tesla vehicles aren’t the only cars out there with cameras. Many car owners have some type of dash cam that records their surroundings. Although they keep their own data, it is still worth noting. People also have the ability to record, upload, and share in their pockets.
USA Today published an article back in 2019 that asked the question about cameras in your car: where are they and what are they looking for? The answer to the first part of that question is: everywhere. Cadillac, Hyundai, BMW, and Tesla vehicles were all listed in this piece. It noted that most of the data go straight to the manufacturer. Also, BMW provides real-time vehicle data to a mapping software company that is using it to develop a range of connected vehicle services.
Furthermore, the Kia K900 was built to eliminate blind spots and the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV uses forward-scanning cameras and mapping data. The article also pointed out that finding a new vehicle of any type without at least one onboard camera will become difficult as time goes on. Here in the US, new cars are required to have backup cameras to help drivers avoid accidents — that federal regulation took effect in 2018.
At this point, focusing on Tesla cameras recording the areas around their cars when triggers appears to just be FUD about Tesla. From CCTV cameras to smartphones, there are so many matters to consider before getting to the matter of Tesla recording in and around its cars to keep them safer. And users have indeed proven the value of Sentry Mode many, many times.
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