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Tesla provides police data: Berlin Tesla driver transferred from his own car

A Berlin Tesla driver has to answer for hit and run - his own car provides the necessary evidence.

A Berlin Tesla driver is accused of speeding through the city at more than 160 km/h and then ramming a traffic light mast and then trying to escape from an accident (paragraph 142 of the German Criminal Code). The responsible investigating authorities can prove this by means of video and data recordings from the vehicle. They received the data from Tesla themselves.

Tesla states that the company server does not store any recordings from the dashcam or from sentry mode - but a 30-second sequence ends up, for example in the case of security-critical events on the server. There are also a number of other exceptions - for example, if the customer expressly agrees to the storage. Investigating authorities make the data obtained available to Tesla without reservation – in this context, group managers emphasize that the respective driver is responsible for compliance with laws and regulations. In this case, the driver is not in control of his data, which repeatedly triggers discussions about data protection.

Sentry Mode controversial

In Sentry Mode, the technology monitors the environment of the respective Tesla. In doing so, she not only records videos of cars or people damaging the Tesla, but also randomly of every passer-by, even just passing by. This is illegal according to the applicable data protection regulations and repeatedly leads to fines being imposed on those who use Sentry Mode in Germany.

Extensive data material

The data material provided by Tesla is very informative for the investigating authorities - it contains videos and recordings of the time of the accident, speed, accelerator pedal position, brake actuation, longitudinal and lateral acceleration and even door opening. The Tesla buyer agrees to the recording of the data when signing the purchase contract. He can then object to the recording, but Tesla warns of limited functionality and inoperability in this case. The Americans do not provide a more detailed technical explanation for the connection between data recording and possible technical restrictions.

Data can also relieve

The data provided by Tesla to the investigative authorities can also relieve a driver. For example, a Berlin Tesla driver gave way to a motorcyclist and seriously injured him. Data released with the Tesla driver's consent showed that the motorcyclist was traveling at a speed of 140 km/h, resulting in a reduced sentence for the motorist.

The Berlin Tesla driver, who is said to have hit a traffic light and allegedly wanted to flee the accident, now has to pay a large fine and give up his driver's license for a period of one year.

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Of course, new technical possibilities for data recording also lead to new possibilities for investigative authorities. The police and prosecutors benefit from the enormous greed for data that manufacturers like Tesla show. The legal framework in which this data is created is secondary - once it is in the hands of the investigating authorities, an exact evaluation by them is very likely.

Tesla is right when the manufacturer points out that the respective driver is responsible for compliance with the locally applicable regulations. Tesla itself only provides the technology for recording the data – the judiciary will hold the respective user responsible for illegal use in terms of data protection, as can happen, for example, when using Sentry Mode.

Apparently, Tesla wants to avoid trouble with the investigating authorities - so the Americans pass on data about accidents. This can also relieve the driver – he is no longer master of his data. This does not seem to conflict with the principle that an accused person does not have to incriminate himself (results indirectly from Section 136 Paragraph 1 Clause 2 StPO).


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