Dutch privacy watchdog determines no fine necessary for Tesla over Sentry Mode recordings

Tesla will not be facing a fine from the Dutch Data Protection Agency (DPA) following an investigation related to its Sentry Mode feature. The decision comes after Tesla made changes to the built-in security feature through over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

The concern with Sentry Mode was that it was recording footage in public settings. This is helpful for owners who want to protect their cars from theft and vandalism, and the feature has proven successful hundreds of times in these exact situations. However, the DPA was investigating Sentry Mode for potential privacy violations.

DPA board member Katja Mur explained the privacy watchdog’s concerns in a statement to Reuters, “Many Teslas parked on the street were often filming everyone who came near the vehicle, and these images were being saved for a very long time. If every car were to do that, we’d have a situation where no one could go anywhere in public without being watched.”

Despite these concerns the DPA ultimately decided not to fine Tesla and instead place the onus of responsibility for improper filming on the individual owner.

“The DPA’s investigation has not resulted in a fine or other sanction for Tesla,” the agency said.

This is because Tesla made changes to the feature since the investigation was launched. The changes include requiring consent from the vehicle owner to record and store footage locally, and making the headlights flash to let pedestrians know that recording has begun.

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