Tesla, the world’s leading electric carmaker, faces a class action lawsuit after reports of its employees accessing and sharing car-owners’ highly intimate videos and pictures shocked not only the Tesla community but also the world at large.
Filed by a car owner in the US District Court for Northern District of California after reports of privacy violations during the 2019-2022 period, the suit accuses Elon Musk-owned Tesla employees were able to access the images and videos for their “tasteless and tortious entertainment” and “the humiliation of those surreptitiously recorded.”
The lawsuit was filed by Henry Yeh, a San Francisco resident who drives Tesla’s Model Y.
“Like anyone would be, Mr Yeh was outraged at the idea that Tesla’s cameras can be used to violate his family’s privacy, which the California Constitution scrupulously protects,” Jack Fitzgerald, an attorney representing Yeh, said in a statement to Reuters.
“Tesla needs to be held accountable for these invasions and for misrepresenting its lax privacy practices to him and other Tesla owners,” Fitzgerald said.
The lawsuit said Tesla’s conduct is “particularly egregious” and “highly offensive.”
It said Yeh was filing the complaint “against Tesla on behalf of himself, similarly-situated class members, and the general public.” The complaint said the prospective class would include individuals who owned or leased a Tesla within the past four years.
Reuters reported that some Tesla employees could see customers “doing laundry and really intimate things. We could see their kids,” citing a former employee.
“Indeed, parents’ interest in their children’s privacy is one of the most fundamental liberty interests society recognizes,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit asks the court “to enjoin Tesla from engaging in its wrongful behaviour, including violating the privacy of customers and others, and to recover actual and punitive damages.”
Elon Musk has not commented on the matter yet.