Too many car cameras: Berlin LKA bans Teslas on site

Too many car cameras
Berlin LKA bans Teslas on site

Tesla vehicles are equipped with eight cameras that provide 360-degree surveillance of the area. The LKA in Berlin sees a risk for security and data protection. That’s why it bans Teslas from entering the police compound.

Tesla cars are no longer allowed to drive on certain Berlin police premises because the vehicle cameras film their surroundings too intensively. The police fear a security and privacy issue. The ban applies to the areas of the police headquarters and the State Criminal Police Office (LKA), as stated in an internal circular from the LKA security department.

The problem is that the cameras in the Tesla cars are constantly filming. This could record police officers, police vehicles and what is happening on the premises. The videos would be “permanently stored” on servers at Tesla’s European headquarters in the Netherlands, police said. How film recordings are processed has not been clarified. Tesla decides whether data could be released.

According to the circular, the police noticed the problem in January. The reason was a report on the ZDF television channel – in August 2021, the magazine “Frontal” presented in a longer article what Tesla cars film and store and what data can be released. Accordingly, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office had received films from Tesla that showed accidents. But she also received film recordings of a trip on the Autobahn that did not result in an accident, but the recording of which was still stored on the servers and could be called up.

Modern cars have multiple cameras to help with parking, for example. In Teslas, eight cameras show a 360-degree all-round surveillance of the environment. The systems are used for driver assistance and semi-autonomous driving. But they also function as so-called dashcams, which are constantly filming in order to be able to follow the process after an accident, for example. In addition, since 2019, Tesla has offered a “sentry mode” that owners must consciously activate. Even with a parked car, the cameras then constantly capture the surroundings and record activities as soon as a proximity alarm is triggered.

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