Tesla faces data security breach controversy, could be fined 3.26 billion euros

Tesla is under scrutiny for potential data breaches and violations of data protection regulations. Leaked confidential information, including personal data of employees and customers, could result in substantial fines.

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Following media reports regarding a possible significant data breach in Tesla’s data security, the Dutch data protection authority acknowledged its awareness of potential breaches but indicated that it is currently too early to provide any further comments. Previously, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reported serious suspicions of data protection violations by Tesla following the leak of 100 gigabytes of confidential data. The data included tables containing more than 100,000 names of former and current employees, including the social security number of Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, along with private email addresses, phone numbers, salaries of employees, bank details of customers and secret details from production.

If it is proven that Tesla has failed to adequately protect data from customers, employees and business partners, that would be in violation of the GDPR. In that case, a fine of up to 4% of Tesla’s annual sales, or 3.26 billion euros, may be imposed. In response, Tesla filed a preliminary report to the Dutch authorities on the matter, and the Data Protection Supervisory Authority in the Netherlands has been informed of the case. Furthermore, groups of Tesla employees were privately sharing via an internal messaging system sometimes highly invasive videos and images recorded by customers’ car cameras between 2019 and 2022.