Tesla Demands Access to Car Cameras for Full Self Driving Testers

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Full Self-Driving has just gotten a little more expensive. This time, however, unlike previous price increases, drivers will not be paying with their wallets.

Tesla’s controversial Full Self-Driving Beta program, which costs up to $199 per month but does not make Tesla cars fully autonomous, now has a new, quite revealing condition for drivers. Tesla is demanding that Beta testers give the firm access to exterior and interior car cameras, according to Electrek, and it makes it plain that the footage will be related to specific cars.

According to Electrek, a warning prompt displayed to customers downloading the latest version of the Beta software reads, “By enabling FSD Beta, I consent to Tesla collecting VIN-associated image data from the vehicle’s external cameras and Cabin Camera in the event of a serious safety risk or a safety event like a collision.”

Because the data is “linked” with vehicle identifying numbers, Tesla will be able to determine which car the footage is from. Tesla owners are vulnerable to potential exploitation because the business maintains the right to access interior and exterior camera data in the nebulous and ill-defined scenario of a “safety risk.”

Surprisingly, Tesla’s own privacy policy excludes the amorphous “safety risk” (in favor of the more concrete “safety occurrence”) as a cause for accessing camera footage linked to specific drivers.

“Until we get the data as a result of a safety event (a vehicle collision or airbag deployment),” the policy states, “camera recordings remain anonymous and are not linked to you or your vehicle.”

“We asked Tesla’s privacy contact for clarity on when the firm would gather inside car camera footage related to specific VINs, but we didn’t hear back right away. We expect this to continue because the corporation is infamous for not responding to press questions.”

It is not a hypothetical fear that a firm could misuse consumer data in general, and customer video in particular. Ring, which is owned by Amazon, confirmed in 2020 that its workers attempted to gain access to consumers’ webcams. That’s exactly what a former ADT technician did. Wired recently claimed that Amazon employees often checked into celebrities’ and ex-romantic partners’ private buying history.

Modern cars, such as Tesla’s, allow for extensive data collecting from owners. Exterior and interior automobile footage, which is linked to a specific VIN in order to identify the owner, is possibly the most obtrusive embodiment of that technique.

However, no one ever said Teslas were inexpensive. It just so happens that consumer privacy is now included in the price of admission.

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