When Tesla's Sentry Cameras Didn't Impress The Dutch — This Is How Elon Musk's EV Company Tweaked Them

Zinger Key Points
  • DPA’s investigation did not result in a fine or other sanction for Tesla
  • Not Tesla but vehicles’ owners legally responsible for images that cars record
  • Previously China had restricted the use of Tesla vehicles by military, state personnel.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority, or DPA, in February, decided not to fine or impose any sanction on Tesla for its built-in security cameras investigated for potential privacy violations.

What Happened: The DPA had conducted an investigation into the Sentry mode of Tesla vehicles, which employs four external cameras to protect vehicles against theft and vandalism.

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“Many Teslas parked on the street were often filming everyone who came near the vehicle, and these images were being saved for a very long time. If every car were to do that, we'd have a situation where no one could go anywhere in public without being watched,” said DPA board member Katja Mur in a statement, according to the DPA statement dating back to February.

The DPA's investigation did not result in a fine or other sanction for Tesla. The investigation stated that it’s not Tesla but the vehicles' owners who are legally responsible for the images that their cars record.

Tesla then made a number of changes to the Sentry feature since the investigation began, including the addition of a trigger on being touched rather than just suspicious activity around the vehicle.

Automatic filming has since been turned off, and the owner now gets a notification on their phones. Also, the headlights pulses to let people know the camera is monitoring them and the vehicle only starts recording video when the user turns on the camera.

Tesla’s automated mechanisms lately caused it to come under the radar. Last week, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recalled over 350,000 Tesla vehicles for its Full Self-Driving Beta software saying they could cause crashes.
Notably, China restricted the use of Tesla vehicles by military, state personnel over national security concerns in 2021 due to presence of eight surround cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors.

Check out more of Benzinga's Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.
This story was originally published on Feb. 22, 2023.

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