Verbraucherzentrale, Datenschutz, Tesla, Kameraüberwachung

Camera surveillance: consumer counseling center sues Tesla

The Federal Association of Consumers (zzbv) is suing Tesla. According to consumer advocates, the activated vehicle surveillance mode violates the Personal Data Protection Act. They also accuse the carmaker of luring customers into misleading CO2 advertising.

The Federal Association of Consumers (vzbv) is suing the American electric car manufacturer Tesla. It comes from one Press Release organization.

A consumer watchdog accuses Tesla of violating data protection law with its built-in watchdog mode. In addition, the car company makes misleading statements about CO2 savings when purchasing its vehicles.

Consumer Advisory Center Criticizes Tesla’s Sentinel Regime

Tesla’s Guardian Mode, also known as Watch mode, serves as protection against theft. Vehicles continuously record their surroundings using built-in cameras. Car owners can also access recordings remotely.

Problem: Even uninvolved bystanders are recorded. In some cases, recordings made by Sentry Mode are even saved. According to the consumer center, this is the processing of personal data. And this in turn is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Additionally, environments may only be logged if there is a specific reason to do so.

According to vzb’s head of legal enforcement Heiko Dünkel, legally compliant use of Tesla’s guard mode is virtually impossible.

Users would have to obtain consent to process personal data from passers-by who happen to pass by the car. Anyone who uses the function therefore violates the Personal Data Protection Act and faces a fine.

According to the consumer center, all of this suggests there are gaps in the approval procedures for automated driving features like Sentry Mode. The Federal Motor Transport Authority must cooperate more closely with the Federal Data Protection Commissioner in the future.

Tesla’s CO2 ad is misleading, says consumer advisory centre

The second charge is related to Tesla’s advertisement of CO2 savings when purchasing one of its electric cars. According to vzbv, the automaker’s statements are misleading.

On the Internet, Tesla advertises the Model 3 with CO2 emissions of zero grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. The wording of the offending ad would lead customers to believe that by purchasing a Tesla they help reduce overall CO2 emissions from cars and promote sustainability. Consumer advocates say this is misleading.

The reality is different: what Tesla cars save on CO2, they can emit in addition to vehicles from other manufacturers. And Tesla is making money from it.

Because in 2020 alone, Tesla is said to have earned 1.6 billion US dollars by selling so-called “emission credits”. These are emission allowances that allow other car manufacturers to exceed the limits applicable to their vehicle fleet.

However, Tesla pushes this common practice into the background. The electric car manufacturer provides information on the sale of emission rights in its environmental compatibility report. However, the report is in English and the information is only on page 75.

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