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In Car Camera

Consumer Reports came up with some interesting criticism of Tesla's announcement that Tesla kicked some folks off of the FSD Beta because the inside camera showed that the drivers were misusing the system.

Specifically, they ask (i) if the car can use the camera in real time to determine that a driver isn't paying sufficient attention, then why does the car do something in real time to get the person to pay attention and (ii) if the car isn't ding real time analysis, but is instead recording video, how much video is being stored and sent back to Tesla and how will it be used.

 
> Tesla currently allows drivers to opt out of sharing in-car video footage

Looks like they made a whoopsie here. Tesla's system is opt-in, not opt-out.
Opt-in vs opt-out isn't really the issue, it's how Tesla uses the information for folks who are opted-in:

"Tesla currently allows drivers to opt out of sharing in-car video footage, but even drivers who opt in may not be aware of just how much information they are sharing. Although Tesla says that footage is not paired with a car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), Davisson says occupants’ faces appear to be visible—and those other than the driver may not have consented to being recorded. And it is clear from how the automaker responds to drivers in its Full Self-Driving beta that at least those cars are identifiable, because the company is able to cancel those customers' participation in the program. In addition, Davisson says Tesla has opened up drivers to potential privacy concerns simply by recording and transmitting the footage, because it could be accessed by malicious actors."

And

"A true driver monitoring system with built-in protections and warnings would be an important addition to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability, which includes features that can assist the driver with parking, changing lanes on the highway, and even coming to a complete halt at traffic lights and stop signs. The system remains a misnomer—it does not mean that Tesla vehicles with these systems can drive themselves—and in-the-moment driver monitoring could keep drivers from abusing it.

Instead, says CR’s Funkhouser, Tesla seems to be using cameras for its own benefit. 'We have already seen Tesla blaming the driver for not paying attention immediately after news reports of a crash while a driver is using Autopilot,' she says. 'Now, Tesla can use video footage to prove that a driver is distracted rather than addressing the reasons why the driver wasn’t paying attention in the first place.'”
 
Opt-in vs opt-out isn't really the issue, it's how Tesla uses the information for folks who are opted-in:


Instead, says CR’s Funkhouser, Tesla seems to be using cameras for its own benefit. 'We have already seen Tesla blaming the driver for not paying attention immediately after news reports of a crash while a driver is using Autopilot,' she says. 'Now, Tesla can use video footage to prove that a driver is distracted rather than addressing the reasons why the driver wasn’t paying attention in the first place.'

And that is bad why?
 
And that is bad why
It's bad if (I) Tesla isn't explicitly explaining to customers--when they opt into the camera-- that Tesla will be using the video to defend itself and the extent to which Tesla is receiving, storing, and potentially accessing video, (ii) if Tesla doesn't provide drivers with the same access to the video that Tesla has (so drivers can use the video to defend themselves/accuse Tesla) and (iii) if Tesla is monitoring drivers and passengers other than the owner without making a monitoring disclosure and getting permission from those other drivers/passengers.

Tesla has a habit of making public statements against it's customers based on records received from the car that Tesla won't disclose to the customers.

Also, it might be unsettling to people that Tesla potentially possesses stored video of the inside of their cars that Tesla might have to provide to the government if supeaned.
 
It's bad if (I) Tesla isn't explicitly explaining to customers--when they opt into the camera-- that Tesla will be using the video to defend itself and the extent to which Tesla is receiving, storing, and potentially accessing video, (ii) if Tesla doesn't provide drivers with the same access to the video that Tesla has (so drivers can use the video to defend themselves/accuse Tesla) and (iii) if Tesla is monitoring drivers and passengers other than the owner without making a monitoring disclosure and getting permission from those other drivers/passengers.

Tesla has a habit of making public statements against it's customers based on records received from the car that Tesla won't disclose to the customers.

Also, it might be unsettling to people that Tesla potentially possesses stored video of the inside of their cars that Tesla might have to provide to the government if supeaned.
Actually, there is a thing called a subpoena that compels Tesla to release information about their customer, especially when the request is coming from the customer's attorney!

Privacy left the stable around 15 years ago. Maybe with a few exceptions, like academic records and medical records. Those are sacrosanct for good reason.
 
XD
Actually, there is a thing called a subpoena that compels Tesla to release information about their customer, especially when the request is coming from the customer's attorney!

Privacy left the stable around 15 years ago. Maybe with a few exceptions, like academic records and medical records. Those are sacrosanct for good reason
Sure... You can supena it once you sue Tesla, but unless/until you sue them, you won't have the video and they'll potentially make all sorts of public claims about what it shows.

And if Tesla (like other manufacturers) were merely using camera data in real time in the cars computer rather than recording it and sending it to Tesla's server, there would be nothing out there for Tesla to use against it's customers.
 
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XD

Sure... You can supena it once you sue Tesla, but unless/until you sue them, you won't have the video and they'll potentially make all sorts of public claims about what it shows.

And if Tesla (like other manufacturers) were merely using camera data in real time in the cars computer rather than recording it and sending it to Tesla's server, there would be nothing out there for Tesla to use against it's customers.
Making false statements, of course, opens Tesla up to a helluva mess with respect to libel laws. And, they have deep pockets.

Then there's the former employee who was allegedly defamed by Tesla years after she worked there, but the US Court of Appeals just told her she needs to arbitrate her claim, based on her employment contract's requirement for arbitrating disputes.

The question, of course, is whether Tesla could claim libel (i.e., Tesla's false statements accusing the driver of fault) is a dispute that falls under their customer agreement that includes arbitration. I would argue it does not.

And to be clear, I'm just spitballing the "what ifs" since @Economite contends it could come to that.
 
The potential availability of a defamation claim against Tesla is really small comfort to someone who Musk and Tesla choose to publicly badmouth.

Remember the weird extrapolations Tesla made from its records of Broder's test drives, or the things it has said about whistleblowers.

Tesla plays mean. Why would you want them to have a video file on you?
 

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