Tesla Faces Data Breach Exposing Concerns Over Autopilot Functionality


Tesla, the leading electric vehicle manufacturer, recently faced a dual onslaught of criticism. Amidst reports about braking system issues, the company now grapples with a significant data leak revealing numerous complaints about its Autopilot feature.

A breach into Tesla’s database earlier this year tarnished the company’s reputation and affected over 75,000 individuals. The Attorney General of Maine described the breach as an “inside job”, involving individuals closely connected with the company.

The data spill transpired on May 10th, when the German newspaper Handelsblatt claimed possession of a 100GB archive. This so-called “Tesla files” cache comprises 23,000 internal documents. Notably, these files include 2,400 reports on auto-acceleration defects and 1,500 instances of braking system malfunctions. Digging deeper, 139 of the complaints were related to unintentional emergency stops, and 383 instances highlighted “phantom stops” due to false collision alerts.

Tesla, in a statement to its employees, acknowledged the May 10th event and its link to Handelsblatt. Indications point towards two disgruntled former employees who bypassed IT security and data protection protocols to leak confidential Tesla information to media sources. Alarmingly, the exposed data wasn’t limited to corporate secrets but also encompassed personal identities of Tesla’s workforce, including names, physical addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. While Tesla assures that the media entity vowed to maintain the confidentiality of the acquired data, ongoing legal battles restrict the ex-employees from further data dissemination.

This incident unfolds against the backdrop of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into the peculiar “phantom stops” experienced in Tesla vehicles. Moreover, rumors circulated in August 2022 hinting at a class-action lawsuit challenging the efficiency and reliability of Tesla’s Autopilot system.


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