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Disabling Data Collection

Discussion in 'Model X: User Interface' started by John Doe, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. John Doe

    John Doe Member

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    Hi
    I'd like to disable data collection/telemetry on a MX I'm about to buy. I am happy with the drop in utility I will get from the car as a tradeoff (such as no app, no advance warning etc). How could that be done?

    I appreciate that this is a controversial topic - I've seen this asked in several forums and the discussion always turns to labelling the asker paranoid, and telling them to turn off their phone, pc etc.

    I'm hoping we can avoid that and focus on the question (I'll give my reasons below).

    As an FYI - I don't know if any of the following statements are true, but 2 of them I read online and 1 I was told by Tesla:
    - I have heard that in Europe, data collection is opt-in only (is that true)?
    - In Australia (and I assume NZ) I have been told by Tesla it cannot be turned off and is compulsory (including recording video).
    - I read that in the US you can request telemetry be turned off.

    I was wondering if anyone had looked into unhooking the GSM aerial?
    Are there any hacks that allow you to disable it?

    Thanks for your feedback.
    John.

    At the risk of getting off the topic of the main question, here are my reasons. They are personal and only apply to me, everyone else has their own risk profile for data that they live with, which is fine.
    - Tesla release detailed data about customers whenever it suits them (such as when they feel the owner has maligned the car). In one case in Norway I think, they *refused* to release data to an owner when he needed it after a crash.
    - Tesla do not wait for warrants to release data to the police (again, they release when it suits them). It is theirs to use/misuse as they want.
    - Tesla say some data is anonymised, but in multiple cases they have released detailed data to the press (and I assume the police) about a person's car and driving performance.

    I feel that they are not to be trusted with the level of data they ask for. Yes I know that there are many other ways data is collected around me - but in my view only Tesla uses the data against their own customer when it suits them. Most other services at least put on a show of requiring warrants (e.g. apple) or don't have super accurate data (cell service) or don't have the level of detail Tesla want (e.g. netflix), and most others are more truthful about anonymisation (or lack thereof).
     
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  2. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    My recollection is that something called data collection is done as an opt-in service.

    You can see the service/feature as part of the settings screens.

    Now, as for what's collected and stored exclusive of the feature referenced above, well, there are others who could give you a very concise field by field list.

    I would offer a contextual note, in that any recent vehicle captures a certain amount of data - see black box - and you don't get to opt out of that without a screwdriver and some other tools.
     
  3. lunitiks

    lunitiks ˭ ˭ ʽʽʽʽʽʽʽʽʽ ʭ ʼʼʼʼʼʼʼʼʼ ˭ ˭

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  4. John Doe

    John Doe Member

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    Hi @TaoJones, thanks for the feedback. It sounds like understanding:
    • whether it can be switched off in Aus/NZ, and
    • what exactly is being collected even when collection is off.
    would help me to make an informed decision about purchasing.

    As to a) - I'll check that out at the dealer over the weekend.
    On b) - hopefully mr @verygreen can help.

    As you say... all modern cars collect data in some fashion. Tesla is (at the moment)
    unique in the level of data it captures and (IMHO) the liberties it takes with that data.
    I'm sure the other manufacturers would do it if they could.

    Cheers.
    John
     
  5. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    FWIW there's two levels of data collection you're concerned about:

    (1) The data collection in the form of Autopilot road measurements and periodic camera/radar data CAN be turned off by a simple checkbox in the UI, with no loss in functionality.

    But I think you're also concerned by (2): Tesla always has a LTE connection to the car where it's collecting telemetry (either by your car pinging them once in a while, or them logging in remotely to your car). If you're, say, wanting to travel "off the grid" and not have a government agency be able to track where you've been… this would be highly problematic. They also seem to do automatic black box uploads after a crash.

    In the second case, the Tesla Privacy Policy does describe you can opt-out by calling them: Privacy & Legal | Tesla


    I don't think anyone's ever done that. So I'm not sure what functionality you lose, or even if it'd actually work.
     
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  6. John Doe

    John Doe Member

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    Hi @chilliban,

    Interesting that you say the autopilot measurements can be turned off when Aus Tesla say it cannot and its compulsory. I'll check this weekend at the showroom. Perhaps there are different rules for different countries, or more likely the Aus Tesla guy was only referring to telemetry (despite my questioning him on this closely).

    I'm actually not worried about govt agencies much - as long as there is a warrant involved (lets not get into the discussion about surveillance - that would be fun but a distraction).

    If Tesla had proper practices about protecting customer data... I'd be more comfortable. I know data is collected by many agencies, but most of them at least try to be protective and get hammered in the press when they aren't. Tesla are different - no one seems to have complained when they have released detailed customer data when it suited them (or when they held back customer data that was needed).

    ...

    Ok... I've reread the section of the privacy policy you pointed to really carefully (Thanks!). There's a few interesting points.
    - they do imply we can fully shut off data collection - although they imply above that they will download data if they ever have the car in the shop.
    - the only data that is anonymised is the video segments collected for autonomous driving and road segment data. All the rest is not anonymised. This includes: safety-related data and camera images, information regarding the vehicle’s SRS systems, braking and acceleration, security, e-brake, and accidents; short video clips of accidents, sensors, usage, operation, condition, and much more.

    Thanks for the information. It looks like I might be able to achieve what I want without butchering the poor car :)
    Cheers.
    John
     
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  7. davidc18

    davidc18 Active Member

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    the loss of functionality is outlined in the data collection policy section of the owners manual in the car. It is significant, unfortunately.
     
  8. verygreen

    verygreen Curious member

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    Supposedly you can opt out of all data collection as outlined in the privacy policy: Privacy & Legal | Tesla

    Don't put too much trust into anonymisation of video, it appears to be trivially connectable back to your car according to what I see in those snapshots. The only savior so far appears to be that they actually stopped or drastically cut snapshot collection.

    Indeed even if you manage to disable sending of the data to Tesla by internal or external means, the logs are still accessible to the service when you bring your car in.

    If you really-really need to be totally secure, I think the most bullet-proof way is to root the car and cut all communications to the mothership, install all firmware and map updates manually and ensure you wipe the logs before bringing the car in for service.
     
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  9. John Doe

    John Doe Member

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    Hi @verygreen
    Thanks for the response.

    Interesting comment about their anonymisation. Shocking to hear, but not surprising.
    [p.s. what sort of snapshots are you seeing and what metadata is included?]

    I understand about the logs... likely there is no way to get rid of that :-(.

    I think my request is less about being "secure" (c.f. firewalls, hacking etc). I have read the details
    of previous attempts to hack into the car, and it looks like Tesla have done a great job in designing a car
    to be secure. For me, its more about trying to limit the amount of data I hand to third parties,
    and Tesla have proven to be a company that is not deserving of trust with that data.

    p.s. part of my job/role is a security researcher - so I'm probably more paranoid than most.

    John.
     
  10. verygreen

    verygreen Curious member

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    What they can ask to be included in logs and the trigger format was outlined here: AP2.0 Cameras: Capabilities and Limitations? it got extended a bit, in that individual cameras now could be asked for and some more internal state could be asked to be included too.

    For picture snapshot examples we were discussing it in that same thread, if you want to see the snapshots themselves, a sample is here: https://app.box.com/s/225wpfnkvdasr5kpbty5u5ap23nl9ej4

    And by "secure" I mean "no information leaks from your car to anywhere", so if you want to limit data uploads you still need to root the car. Or you can just buy a salvaged car from the likes of @wk057 and that is already prerooted and with a discount to boot (probably hard to do in Australia, though, and I don't know how people service them since Tesla suposedly refuses to touch them).

    Also there's always the option of finding where 3g antenna is and disconnecting that and then limiting car wifi access as well, I guess.
     
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  11. Sonny Daze

    Sonny Daze Member

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    Should we assume you know how to this, but would rather not say?
     
  12. verygreen

    verygreen Curious member

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    The antenna connects to the cid so you can pull it there.
    Details are in the service manuals that float around in form of torrents.
     
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  13. John Doe

    John Doe Member

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    Thanks for the pointer to that forum topic. I spent waaaay too long reading through it - fascinating stuff.
     
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  14. John Doe

    John Doe Member

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    Thanks to everyone who replied in this topic. It was great to have people address the
    question (no matter how paranoid it seemed :)).

    I've checked with the local Tesla people and they say data collection can be turned off here.
    So that's good.

    I took a car for a drive over the weekend, and the two options to disable data are definitely there in
    Controls > Settings > Safety & Security. So the Tesla person I spoke to on the phone
    (who never called me back BTW) was wrong.

    @verygreen's comment about how anonymised data can be easily traced back to the car
    was pretty interesting, and matches other failed anonymisation guarantees made by other
    companies.

    All the best
    John.
     
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