A few days ago, the researcher and his colleague released a safety report on Tesla electric vehicles. Tesla electric vehicles rely on intelligent systems to provide users with many aspects of automated control, but this relies on the massive amounts of data collected to be processed locally. These processed data are not cleared even when the electric vehicle is scrapped, and those with relevant experience can extract sensitive data directly from the electric vehicle.
The researchers extracted data from a number of Tesla-discarded electric vehicles. After analysis, the Tesla electric vehicle retained at least “17 different devices that had been connected to the car during its lifespan, none of which were encrypted” even after it was scrapped. These data include vehicle pairings, phone contact lists, calendars with event details, emails for event guests, recent locations, and more. Even video recordings of vehicles before a car accident can be completely extracted. These data can completely track users and analyze their daily habits.
After the report was released, Tesla officially issued a statement stating that “Tesla already offers options that customers can use to protect personal data stored on their car, including a factory reset option for deleting personal data and restoring customized settings to factory defaults, and a Valet Mode for hiding personal data (among other functions) when giving their keys to a valet. That said, we are always committed to finding and improving upon the right balance between technical vehicle needs and the privacy of our customers.”
At the same time, Tesla also provides a function called the driving mode. After the user activates this function, the Tesla electric car will automatically hide the driver’s various sensitive data. But even if these measures do not solve the user’s data leakage problem, Tesla said that in principle the company will not actively delete the information on the car.
Events such as car accidents usually require the provision of various types of evidence in court, and the data collected by Tesla can help users submit evidence at the time of prosecution. However, Tesla also said that in the future, this data will be stored in an encrypted manner to prevent such sensitive data from being extracted by others without authorization.