Skip to main content

Is the Tesla Sentry Mode causing a privacy problem for the company, or are some employees acting in a juvenile and immature fashion? How much privacy can we actually expect to enjoy once we leave our homes? Recently, A few of Tesla’s ex-employees shared how some videos and images captured by the Sentry Mode are used at the company.

What is the Tesla Sentry Mode?

Tesla Touchscreen Showing Sentry Model Activated
Tesla Touchscreen Showing Sentry Model Activated | Tesla

The Sentry Mode built into Tesla vehicles adds a special layer of protection by continuously monitoring the environment around a car when unattended. This system goes into action when locked and turned off, using the cameras and sensors to detect potential problems around the vehicle. This system is designed to help Tesla owners avoid their vehicles being stolen, but some Tesla employees created in-office humor from images and videos.

What images and videos have Tesla vehicles captured?

If you can imagine it, the Tesla cameras have captured it. Everything from a naked man approaching a Tesla vehicle to a child being hit on a bike. Of course, most images and videos are as mundane as our daily lives. Its when some items capture the attention of Tesla analysts, which is where things get interesting. These images and videos are supposed to be used to improve vehicle systems, nothing more.

Why is this Tesla system under scrutiny?

Tesla Dash Cam Footage - Its easy to see how the Sentry Mode can capture clear videos around Tesla vehicles
Tesla Dash Cam Footage | Tesla

The Tesla Sentry Mode could be a serious privacy problem for the company because of how and when it captures images. Although Tesla owners have agreed to an anonymous sharing of data captured, other people have not. The Sentry Mode camera can capture other drivers who haven’t agreed to this data sharing.

Although the data shared is anonymous, former Tesla employees informed Reuters that the location and time of the recording are collected. This means the vehicle owner might easily be identified.

Could your Tesla record you in your home?

Think about your garage and what takes place in this room. Some people have their laundry stations in the garage, others allow kids to play in this area. Some will get intimate without remembering the car parked nearby could be recording them. People should have a sense of privacy and security in their homes. That said, ex-Tesla employees confirmed they could see people doing things in their homes near the vehicles.

“We could see them doing laundry and really intimate things. We could see their kids.” – Ex-Tesla employee to Reuters

How are Tesla employees acting immaturely?

Tesla Model Y Driving on a Country Road
Tesla Model Y | Tesla

If your job were to comb through thousands of hours of videos and images to improve the driving systems of a vehicle, you might get bored. Unfortunately, that boredom can lead to creativity. Some videos and images, mostly those with more interesting items, have been turned into private memes. These memes were shared amongst some Tesla employees. No reports of these memes leaking to the public have surfaced. Still, this seems like an extremely immature, creepy, and unacceptable invasion of privacy.

Do we have a right to privacy while in public?

This continues to be a question worth answering. Anyone who thinks they aren’t being recorded at all times when in public is mostly fooling themselves. Cameras are everywhere, and can see almost everything we do. Of course, we should have a sense of privacy in restrooms and at home. Additionally, we should be able to trust that companies using cameras for data collection and product development aren’t turning those recordings into inter-office fodder.

Unfortunately, this is only a portion of how the Tesla Sentry Mode has created privacy problems for the company and the general public.

Related

Why Does the Tesla Model Y Rank Low for Reliability Despite No Reported Problems?