A Dutch watchdog is investigating an alleged Tesla data breach

BERLIN/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Netherlands’ data protection watchdog said on Friday it was aware of a possible data protection breach at Tesla, but it was too early to comment further.

Germany’s Handelsblatt reported Thursday that Elon Musk’s Tesla (TSLA.O) has failed to adequately protect data from customers, employees and business partners, citing 100 gigabytes of confidential data leaked by a whistleblower.

“We are aware of the Handelsblatt story and are looking into it,” said a spokesperson for the AP data watchdog in the Netherlands, where Tesla is headquartered in Europe.

They declined to comment on whether the agency would launch or launch an investigation, citing politics. The Dutch agency was informed by its counterpart in the German state of Brandenburg.

Handelsblatt said Tesla notified Dutch authorities of the breach, but an AP spokesperson said they were not aware of whether the company had made any representations to the agency.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment Friday on the Handelsblatt report, which said customer data could be found “in abundance” in a dataset titled “Tesla Files.”

The data protection office in Brandenburg, home to Tesla’s European megafactory, described the data leak as “massive”.

“I don’t recall on such a scale,” Brandenburg’s data protection officer Dagmar Hartge said, adding that the case had been handed over to Dutch authorities who would be responsible if the allegations lead to enforcement action.

She added that the Dutch authorities had several weeks to decide whether to deal with the case as part of a European procedure.

The files include spreadsheets containing more than 100,000 names of former and current employees, including Tesla CEO Musk’s social security number, along with private email addresses, phone numbers, employee salaries, customer bank details and confidential details from production, Handelsblatt reported.

It said the breach violated the General Data Protection Regulation.

If such a violation is proven, Tesla could be fined up to 4% of its annual sales, which could amount to €3.26 billion.


Germany’s IG Metall union said the disclosed information was “disturbing” and called on Tesla to report all data protection breaches to employees and foster a culture in which employees can raise problems and complaints openly and without fear.

“These finds… fit into the picture we’ve had in just under two years,” said Dirk Schultz, IG Metall’s upcoming area manager for Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony.

Handelsblatt quoted a lawyer for Tesla as saying that a “disgruntled former employee” had abused their access as a service technician, adding that the company would take legal action against the person it suspected of the leak.

Citing leaked files, the newspaper reported thousands of customer complaints regarding the automaker’s driver-assistance systems with about 4,000 complaints about sudden acceleration or phantom braking.

Last month, a Reuters report showed that groups of Tesla employees shared privately via an internal messaging system sometimes highly intrusive videos and photos recorded by customers’ car cameras between 2019 and 2022.

This week, Facebook’s parent company Meta (META.O) was hit with a record €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) fine by the European Union’s leading privacy regulator over its handling of user information and given five months to stop transferring user data to the US.

Additional reporting by Reham El Koussa and Christina Amann in Berlin, Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, and Hyun Joo Jin in San Francisco; Editing by Susan Fenton, David Gregorio, and Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reham Zucchini

Thomson Reuters

Reham El-Kassaa is the energy and climate change correspondent for Reuters in Germany, covering Europe’s largest economy, Europe’s green transition and Europe’s energy crisis. Elkoussa is a graduate of Columbia University School of Journalism with 10 years of experience as a journalist covering the refugee crisis in Europe and the Syrian civil war for publications such as Der Spiegel, USA Today and The Washington Times. Al-Qusaa was among two teams to win Reuters’ “Journalist of the Year” awards in 2022 for its coverage of the energy crisis in Europe and the Ukraine war. She also won a Foreign Press Association Award in 2017 in New York and a White House Correspondents Association Scholarship that year.

#Dutch #watchdog #investigating #alleged #Tesla #data #breach

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top