Dutch watchdog admits being aware and looking into alleged data breach by Tesla
The authorities have several weeks to decide whether to deal with the case as part of a European procedure
The data protection watchdog for the Netherlands has maintained it was aware of possible data protection breaches by Tesla. However, it was early for further comment.
It was being said that Elon Musk's Tesla had allegedly failed to adequately protect data from customers, employees and business partners, citing 100 gigabytes of confidential data leaked by a whistle-blower.
A spokesperson for the data watchdog in the Netherlands, where Tesla's European headquarters is located, admitted being aware of it, but declined to comment on whether the agency would launch an investigation on the matter.
Tesla is reported to have notified the Dutch authorities about the breach, but the spokesperson said he was unaware if the company had such representation. The company has also not commented on whether customer data could be found "in abundance" in a data set labelled "Tesla Files."
The data protection office in Brandenburg, home to Tesla's European Gigafactory, described the data leak as "massive."
Dagmar Hartge, Brandenburg’s data protection officer said, "I can't remember such a scale." He added that the case was handed over to the Dutch authorities who would be responsible if the allegations led to an enforcement action.
The files include tables containing more than 100,000 names of former and current employees, including the social security number of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, along with private email addresses, phone numbers, salaries of employees, bank details of customers and secret details from production.
The breach would violate the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and if such a violation is proven, Tesla could be fined up to 4 percent of its annual sales (3.26 billion euros).
German metalworkers union IG Metall said the revelations were "disturbing." It advised Tesla to inform employees about all data protection violations and promote a culture wherein the staff could raise problems and grievances unhindered.
Dirk Schulze, the incoming district manager for Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony at IG Metall stated, "These revelations fit with the picture that we have gained in under two years.”
A lawyer for Tesla reportedly said that a "disgruntled former employee" was suspected of the leak and abused the access as a service technician. The company intended to take legal action against the individual.
Thousands of customer complaints regarding the carmaker's driver assistance systems, with around 4,000 complaints on sudden acceleration or phantom braking, have been reported.
it was known that groups of Tesla employees privately shared via an internal messaging system sometimes highly invasive videos and images recorded by customers' car cameras between 2019 and 2022.