Dutch watchdog investigating Tesla data breach 2023

On Friday, the Dutch data protection agency said it was aware of probable Tesla data breaches but would not investigate yet. A whistleblower disclosed 100 terabytes of secret material from Tesla, which Handelsblatt revealed on Thursday.

“We are aware of the Handelsblatt story and we are looking into it,” said an AP data watchdog spokeswoman in the Netherlands, Tesla’s European headquarters. Handelsblatt reported that Tesla informed the Dutch authorities of the breach, but the AP representative claimed they were unaware of any such notification.

On Friday, Tesla declined to comment on the Handelsblatt story that “Tesla Files” included “in abundance” consumer data. The data loss was “massive” according to Brandenburg’s data protection authority, which houses Tesla’s European gigafactory.

“I can’t remember such a scale,” Brandenburg data protection officer Dagmar Hartge said, adding that the Dutch authorities would handle any enforcement action. She said that the Dutch government has several weeks to determine whether to pursue a European procedure.

Handelsblatt reported that the files contain tables with more than 100,000 names of former and current employees, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s social security number, private email addresses, phone numbers, salaries, customer bank details, and production secrets. It stated the breach violated GDPR.

Tesla may be penalized 4% of its yearly sales, or 3.26 billion euros, if found guilty. ‘DISTURBING’

German union IG Metall termed the disclosures “disturbing” and urged Tesla to educate employees about any data protection infractions and foster a culture where employees could freely discuss issues. “These revelations… fit with the picture that we have gained in just under two years,” said Dirk Schulze, IG Metall’s incoming Berlin, Brandenburg, and Saxony district manager.

A Tesla lawyer told Handelsblatt that a “disgruntled former employee” had exploited their service technician access and that the business will sue the leaker. The publication uncovered thousands of consumer complaints concerning the carmaker’s driver assistance technologies, including 4,000 on rapid acceleration or phantom brakes, using hacked information.

Last month that Tesla staff shared extremely intrusive recordings and photos from consumers’ vehicle cameras via an internal messaging system between 2019 and 2022. This week, Facebook parent Meta was fined a record 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) by the key European Union privacy authority for its management of user data and given five months to halt moving data to the U.S.

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