Tesla has been hit with a class-action lawsuit following a report that its employees privately shared images and videos captured by the cameras built into the company’s popular electric vehicles.
As reported by Business Insider, Tesla owner Henry Yeh has filed a class-action lawsuit in the Northern District of California against the electric car company on behalf of anyone who has owned a Tesla since 2019.
The lawsuit relies heavily on the report from Reuters (which was later at least partially confirmed by Insider) and claims Tesla employees were able to capture “highly-invasive” videos and images of car owners without their consent.
“Since at least 2019, the cameras in Tesla vehicles captured highly-invasive videos and images of the cars’ owners, which Tesla employees were able to access—not for the stated purposes of communication, fulfillment of services, and enhancement of Tesla vehicle driving systems—but for the tasteless and tortious entertainment of Tesla employees, and perhaps those outside the company, and the humiliation of those surreptitiously recorded,” the lawsuit reads.
“By virtue of this defective system, Tesla employees accessed and circulated recordings of Tesla customers in private and embarrassing situations, without their consent including, for example, video of a man approaching a Tesla vehicle completely naked, and video of vehicle crashes and road-rage incidents,” the lawsuit continues.
“Tesla employees also shared pictures of family pets, which were made into memes by embellishing them with captions or commentary before posting them in group chats. While some postings were only shared between a few employees, others could be seen by ‘scores’ of Tesla employees. And as is common with internet culture, many of these videos and images were very likely shared with persons outside the company.”
The lawsuit has been filed, but it has yet to be determined if it will continue through the court system — a judge will have to determine if it is a viable class action lawsuit. If that happens, Tesla could be required to pay a sizeable fine to those affected. The lawsuit does not define a specific amount that the plaintiff is seeking.
Multiple reports have confirmed that Tesla employees were able to view images of customers through the company’s cars and shared them amongst each other, despite Tesla’s own privacy statements.
“No one gave Tesla’s employees permission to circulate and get entertainment out of their private images,” Jack Fitzgerald, one of the attorneys representing Yeh, tells Insider. “This is a shocking breach of trust by Tesla.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.