Data protection violations alleged at Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin

German authorities are investigating allegations of data protection violations by Tesla at Gigafactory Berlin, according to a report by the German publication Handelsblatt.

According to Handelsblatt’s report, a whistleblower leaked approximately 100 gigabytes of confidential data to the publication, alleging Tesla failed to adequately safeguard information belonging to customers, employees, and business partners. Such a breach would constitute a violation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a framework designed to protect individuals’ privacy rights.

“Various formats can be found in the 23,398 Tesla files. In addition to 1388 PDF documents, 1015 Excel tables and 213 Powerpoint presentations, the Handelsblatt also has a number of images, videos and audio files. Also included are emails that Tesla employees are believed to have exchanged. The most recent files are from March 2022,” the report states. (translated from German)

A lawyer representing Tesla responded to the allegations, telling Handelsblatt that the leaked data had been shared by a “disgruntled former employee” who misused their privileges as a service technician. The lawyer asserted that legal action would be taken against the suspected ex-employee.

The data protection breach was reported to German authorities by the whistleblower in April. Handelsblatt quoted a spokesperson from the Brandenburg data protection office where Giga Berlin is located, who highlighted the seriousness of the situation if the evidence substantiates the claims, saying it would be “particularly serious from a data protection point of view, also because of the large number of people affected worldwide.”

Handelsblatt has also create a tool where you can enter your VIN to see if your information was included in the data they were provided with. You can find that tool here.

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