Tesla sentry mode cameras raise Berlin police spying fears

MI6 and the FSB better watch out. According to some authorities, the best of the spies seems to be named Tesla. After China, it is in Berlin that the cameras fitted to Tesla vehicles pose problems.

Tesla vehicles are suspected of spying on their immediate surroundings. The Berlin police are in the process of ruling on the fate of the vehicles within the walls of their premises, while China has already banned Teslas from certain sensitive sectors.

The various Tesla models are equipped with numerous cameras offering several functions. These on-board cameras are valuable supports for driving aids. They are also used for vehicle safety by activating sentry mode. In these cases, as soon as movement is detected near the vehicle, the cameras film and store the information. It is this operation that has recently raised concerns about the confidentiality of data collected and sent to remote servers.

A sensitive subject in areas where filming is prohibited

The Berlin police realized that the cameras in Tesla cars were constantly recording moving images of the vehicle’s surroundings. According to Der Tagespiegel, what the Berlin police fear is that the location of ammunition bunkers, civilian cars with license plates and the faces of civilian investigators or military forces will be filmed without the knowledge of the authorities. specials.

The records generated are then transferred to the Netherlands on Tesla servers, whose use of the data remains unclear. The authorities are therefore concerned about the confidentiality of the information collected by Tesla.

Camera Tesla Model Y // Source: Raphaelle Baut

This may seem like an overreaction, but the question is still legitimate. If it is forbidden to film in certain sensitive areas, such as military grounds, can vehicles equipped with cameras be allowed to circulate freely? However, it would be possible to answer that any mobile phone is able to film discreetly, without all phones being prohibited in these same areas. Wouldn’t the solution be to only block the use of sentry mode in sensitive areas?

The decision of the Berlin police is in any case very observed. It could have a snowball effect on many other administrations in all countries. This could be another blow for Tesla.

Forbid sentry mode or the whole vehicle? China has decided

According to Reuters, Tesla vehicles will be banned from the coastal district of Beidaihe, China, from 1er July and for a period of two months. Beidaihe Station hosts a conclave of senior Chinese leaders every year. They discuss staff movements and political ideas behind closed doors. The Chinese authorities are particularly concerned about being spied on by vehicle cameras.

As the precise date of this meeting of Communist Party members is kept secret, the Tesla traffic ban covers a long period to prevent any leaks.

tesla_gigafactory_shanghai
Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai // Source: Tesla

This is not the first ban of its kind in China. Last year, a Chinese military base and some government sites also banned Teslas from their compounds. The Chinese government fears that the data collected by the cameras and sensors of electric cars could jeopardize Chinese national security due to the transfer of data to Tesla.

Elon Musk has previously claimed that Tesla cars aren’t spying in China or anywhere else, and that the company would be shut down if it did. Chinese Tesla data is also stored on Chinese servers, but this does not yet seem to be sufficient as guarantees.

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