Influential US Magazine Raises Privacy Concerns About Tesla’s In-Car Cameras

According to a report by the influential magazine Consumer Reports published from the United States, concerns about user privacy are being raised because of the in-car cameras of Tesla’s car which are used to record and transmit video footage of passengers for the development of the company’s self-driving technology.

The benefits of driver monitoring are possibly undermined by the usage of the data from the in-car cameras of the company, the report in Consumer Reports said. Passenger monitoring us a technology that alters drivers when they do not pay attention to the road while driving,

“If Tesla has the ability to determine if the driver isn’t paying attention, it needs to warn the driver in the moment, like other automakers already do,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports’ auto test center.

The magazine said that in contrast to the in-car camera system to monitor drivers in Tesla cars, the same systems used in vehicles of auto makers such as Ford Motor and General Motors do not record or transmit data or video. Such driver monitoring systems of the other companies make use of infrared technology to identify the eye movements or head position of drivers and accordingly send warning signals to them if the machines predict that the drivers are exhibiting signs of impairment or distraction,

There were immediate comments available on the report from Tesla.

Last week in China, the military of the country also banned the entry of Tesla cars into military complexes because of security concerns emanating from the internal cameras tghat are fitted in the cars of the Palo Alto, California based carmaker. According to reports, Tesla owners have been ordered by the Chinese military to park their cars outside a military property and it notified residents this week.

According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal, use of Tesla cars by personnel at military, state-owned enterprises in sensitive industries and key agencies was banned by the Chinese government. Whether this restriction applied to all such military facilities was not immediately clear in the report. The report, citing people familiar with the issue, claimed that the restriction order was issued after a security review by the Chinese government about Tesla’s vehicles.

Tesla would be shut down if it was proven that the cars were used for spying, company Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said last week.

In its latest Consumer Reports’ auto brand rankings that were published last week, Tesla slipped five positions from its position last year to end up at 16th spot – which is at the middle of the list. This list is a closely watched annual assessment where the ranking are based on road tests, reliability data, owner satisfaction surveys and safety performance.

Tesla was outdone by Mazda Motor Corp.’s mainstream models.

According to Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing for the Yonkers, New York-based magazine, Tesla cars were found to be less reliable compared to other brands, even though the vehicles scored high on customer satisfaction and road testing.

(Adapted from NDTV.com & Bloomberg.com)

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