Tesla electric cars should no longer be allowed to enter Berlin police properties due to built-in cameras. The head of security at the Berlin police headquarters and state criminal investigation office ordered this because electric cars would pose a risk to the safety of employees, third parties and property themselves and endanger their data protection , the Berlin newspapers report.
Thilo Cablitz, a spokesperson for the Berlin police, explained to heise online that there is currently no general entry ban for some vehicles. The regulatory situation will finally be coordinated according to ownership, taking into account the continuous development of information technology in motor vehicles. This is still being verified, so the letter from the head of security initially has no effect, it just serves to raise awareness.
Previously, it was not allowed to make sound, photo or video recordings in any Berlin police security area if they were not required for official purposes and if they could violate security-related interests, explains Cablitz. As before, everyone is primarily responsible for ensuring that no corresponding recordings are made, whether with the smartphone, camera or automotive IT monitoring the environment.
According to the Berliner Tagesspiegel, it became clear to Berlin police this year that Tesla cars use cameras to constantly record moving images of the vehicle’s surroundings, regardless of the event.
This is the sentinel mode. In this sentry mode, offered by Tesla since 2019, the car records video of its surroundings when it detects noticeable movement. When a Tesla car enters the “alert” state in this way, owners will receive an alert on their Tesla app.
A year and a half ago, former Schleswig-Holstein data protection officer Thilo Weichert described him for the network of data protection experts. Due to these and other functions, Tesla has strong concerns about the compatibility of data protection in Europe.
Permanently activated video recordings are also complicated for the Berlin police because they could be used to capture security areas such as ammunition bunkers, civilian cars with camouflage plates, and areas of civilian investigators or special forces from Tesla cameras. The Berlin security chief has now ordered that Tesla’s ban “must be implemented fairly by all those responsible for their respective police properties as an agency-level measure.” However, the Tagesspiegel cites the Berlin police press office that the same local directions should check how they deal with Tesla and allow vehicles to enter their premises.
The Berlin data protection officer was also busy with the guard mode in the present case, reports the Tagesspiegel. Guard mode should not be activated continuously in parking lots for no reason and record images of the environment there, they explained. In case of complaints about the activated mode, the data protection officer will initiate a procedure and investigate the case, which could lead to a penalty.
Tesla’s Sentry mode had previously raised concerns with the Chinese government. A year ago, the media said they wanted to limit the use of Tesla vehicles by military personnel and employees of major corporations. The Chinese government fears that data collected by electric cars via cameras and sensors could endanger China’s national security by transferring data to Tesla in the United States.