Tesla Employees Shared Sensitive Footage From Consumers’ Vehicle Cameras: Tesla’s hidden camera is rolling, so flash that grin.
At least, that’s what Reuters reports nine ex-Tesla workers told them.
The workers said that from 2019 until at least the middle of 2022, and maybe longer, hundreds, if not thousands, of private video footage from customers’ Tesla cars were routinely seen by staff.
“We could see inside people’s garages and their private properties,” according to a former Tesla worker.
Despite the fact that some of the videos were harmless (such as those of pets or humorous road signs), others were rumored to show Tesla owners and their loved ones in inappropriate or even dangerous circumstances.
Workers said that the more engaging the films were, the more likely they were to be shared.
Ex-employees of Tesla cited footage showing unclothed motorists, people stumbling and falling, poor driving, wrecks, collisions, road rage incidents, and even a person being forced into a car against their will.
Reuters cited a video showing a youngster riding a bicycle being struck by a car and sent flying in one direction as the bicycle went in the other.
The purportedly entertaining movies would perpetually travel around Tesla’s internal communications infrastructure in the form of private conversations, emails, or small groups, often with extra annotations or recreations in slow motion.
“If you saw something cool that would get a reaction, you post it, right, and then later, on break, people would come up to you and say, ‘Oh, I saw what you posted. That was funny,’” Ex-worker from Tesla’s California headquarters in San Mateo told Reuters.
“People who got promoted to lead positions shared a lot of these funny items and gained notoriety for being funny,” the worker reported.
Workers also said that Tesla management occasionally enforced stricter rules on such sharing, citing the company’s privacy standards, but generally turned a blind eye.
Tesla personnel with access to such material are sometimes referred to as “labelers.”
A labeler’s role, for instance, would be to help train an autonomous vehicle’s artificial intelligence by identifying items in photos and videos.
Engineers get this data and use it to make autonomous driving systems better for Tesla vehicles.
Things like roadway lane markings and fire trucks are good examples. Workers said they were sometimes asked to go around customers’ garages and identify objects to teach Teslas how to back out securely using Autopilot.