German consumer organization sues Tesla for privacy violation

The Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV) is suing Tesla for deception. According to the German consumer organization, the American car manufacturer is silent that the monitoring functionality of Tesla cars violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). According to the interest group, this is proof that data protection is not in order in Europe.

The VZBV writes this in a press statement.

How Sentry Mode works and violates the GDPR

The case revolves around Sentry Mode. This is a feature that protects Tesla’s cars from outside obstacles, such as other cars, pedestrians, cyclists and bollards. This is made possible by a series of cameras attached to the vehicle that continuously monitor the environment.

The cameras also register pedestrians who happen to pass by and have nothing to do with the traffic situation at all. Sometimes recordings of these passers-by are stored in the car. According to European privacy legislation, this is equivalent to the processing of personal data. And there is no legal basis for this: after all, the passers-by have not given explicit permission for this.

In addition, it is not allowed to record unsolicited videos of what happens in the vicinity of a car. According to the interest group, the use of Sentry Mode is not allowed in public spaces.

Gaps in approval procedures

“Tesla’s Sentry Mode is designed to protect the vehicle. However, Tesla does not say that data protection in accordance with the GDPR is impossible in practice,” says Heiko Dünkel, head of the legal department at VZBV. He states that pedestrians who pass a Tesla car equipped with this

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