Tesla facing lawsuit in Germany over privacy concerns and climate claims

Model 3 Germany
Credit: Android PIT

A consumer protection group in Germany has filed a lawsuit against Tesla over the use of Sentry Mode in public and claims by the automaker that buying their vehicles reduces CO2 emissions are misleading.

The Federation of German Consumer Organization (VZBV) filed the lawsuit on Tuesday. The group, which is the country’s largest consumer protection group, said in a statement they were going after Tesla for “misleading environmental statements and missing information on how Sentry Mode works.” (translated from German)

The group claims that while Tesla promotes that its vehicles help reduce emissions, they don’t tell the whole story. Tesla should more clearly publish that they sell emissions credits to other automakers, thereby allowing them to emit CO2 that Tesla would otherwise have not, the group alleges.

Tesla does publish this information, but the group says it should be more prominent and not buried in their 2021 Impact Report.

The group also alleges that Sentry Mode, which uses the vehicle’s on-board cameras to monitor the surroundings, doesn’t comply with European data regulations.

“In certain cases, the recordings are stored in the vehicle. This is the processing of personal data, which is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation. In addition, the unprovoked recording of what is happening in the vehicle environment is not permitted,” the group claims. (translated from German)

For Sentry Mode to be legal the group says that owners would have to obtain consent from people passing by the vehicle when the feature is active, making the use of Sentry Mode in a public area “not possible.”

Tesla has not commented on the lawsuit.

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