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personal data collection by tesla

Tesla collects information about where, when and how you drive. It stores your driving destinations and driving habits. This information is automatically and periodically updated to Tesla.

Read the 'telemetrics' section of your agreement.

Tesla agrees to release this information to the police and courts. Given the recent revelations about NSA's collection of data records (that is, your individual and personal information about your activities) means your detailed movement activities are now available to the government.

Go read it.

Most modern cars have computer or black box that records car's vital data. Police needs court order to access those data just like they need court order to access personal data you stored in your PC, smart phone or in the cloud. There is nothing new about it.

Now you can go troll elsewhere. Happy new year!

To accuse the serious concern as trolling is extremely naive. The uncovered NSA madness should scare everyone, even those that easily give up freedom for safety. You may end up deserving neither.

@GeirT Unlike the NSA collection of phone records we signed the telemetrics waiver. But Mr. Franklin would be happy you're on top of it.

You can opt out of telemetrics too, I believe.

You'll never be able to opt out of the NSA.

"where, when and how you drive" - is that personal information? You are using public roads in plain view with a license plate to identify you. I would say that is public information with anyone the right to collect.
If they would record your conversation in car then it would become personal information.

@kleist, unless it's just the participants, topic and conclusions of the conversation, then it's just metadata.

In a free country, the government seems to have the freedom to spy upon us. Who cares the most has the most to hide. For me, I'm good with telemetrics being something you can opt out of. Or can you? How do you know this data is not being sent without using a network sniffer on both the phone and wifi connections?

I love the car....

I find the argument kind of scary that says: why do you worry if you have nothing to hide. Who is to say what I can keep private?

Go into any department store with your I-Phone on, and they (the store) know exactly where in the store you are standing. They know if you are searching a competitor's store for price comparison. Go to any grocery store that has those wands that allow you to scan your own groceries. They track which isle you are in. This is all to "magically" alert you to sale items in that isle. This has been going on for years.

Travel on a tolled road with a electronic toll pass. They know when and which entrance you used and where you got off the toll road. Oh, and they can if they want to, calculate your average travel speed based on the 2 time stamps. If it's faster than the speed limit, I suppose they could send you a speeding ticket. Has anyone received a speeding ticket, based on such collected data? I know I haven't and I travel on the MA turnpike a lot.

So whether you have an electronic item on you or your in one like a modern car, you can/are being tracked. This is nothing new.

It's a brave new world.

Based upon OP's use of the word "agreement", I'm presuming he/she means the MVPA we all signed when we purchased our cars. If that's the case, OP is spreading misinformation. Here is the actual section from our agreements:

"Vehicle Telematics Subscription. Your car includes an activated subscription service that records and sends diagnostic and system data to Tesla to ensure that your car is operating properly, to guide future improvements and to allow us to locate your car under certain limited circumstances. There is no charge for this service. Access to location data is tightly controlled within Tesla and a history of such is not stored on our servers. We appreciate that customer privacy is of paramount importance (please refer to our privacy policy regarding vehicle telematics available at Please feel free to contact us at +1 (877) 798-3752 if you would like to suspend your subscription to these services."

I don't see anything alarming or unusual that the OP is talking about. There is a telematics section of the Owner's Manual which reads like any other telematics section from a Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, GM or any other connected vehicle. Any company will provide data to law enforcement if officially requested or required by court order. I would be more worried about my texting and email activities before I'd be worried about Tesla or my vehicle narcing on me.

And besides, what if you are accused of a murder you didn't commit? Telematics can come to your defense by providing you with a much needed alibi. And can you believe this actually happened? Yep... from NASDAQ:

"In defense of telematics. Telematics can sometimes work in favor of the driver. Michael Beard, a 28-year-old nurse's aide, was accused of murdering his 7-month-old daughter. But the timeline from Progressive's Snapshot telematics device showed that he arrived at her home and only turned off his car for three minutes before turning it back on to rush his daughter to the hospital -- not enough time to commit the crime. Beard was acquitted."

I have a small concern when a private company I "choose" to do business with collects data intended to increase my happiness with their product and understand my needs to better satisfy me.

I have a huge concern when politically motivated government has the data and just can't resist the urge to use the data to attack political opponents or those they disagree with. With the IRS being used to attack political opponents and the DOJ going after journalists to silence criticism we all need to be aware of the extreme danger posed by government and governments ability to use data for political purposes.

Government is like fire, it can keep you warm or it can burn your house down. I don't think government can be trusted not to use available data to attack political opponents. We can only hope that the fourth amendment gets reinstated.

I've read that Tesla sends invites to new SC openings based on where you drive. Is this a helpful service or a creepy intrusion?

@GeirT No you don't seem to get it. Your personal data are collected whenever you use a Tesla/most cars, iphone, landline phone, get on the internet, buy groceries, walk into a public place, or for that matter do pretty much anything you do in your daily life. There are laws to protect you from the government to obtain you private data without the due process. It's a different issue if any agencies did not follow the law or spirit of the law but to single out telemetrics, the same data collection as you are subjected to everywhere, is ignorant at least but I've seen this being used numerous times for trolling purpose too.

I work in the data storage industry. An early pioneer (Seagate's founder) has famously said the industry existed because of porn. The industry exists today because everyone is keeping everybody's data on those zettabytes of storages we use.

The gathering of this data is a clear benefit to Tesla customers, and is similar to the information available in other automobiles. I think if a person is seriously concerned about their privacy, they should buy and drive drive cars that are not equipped with these devices or maybe just put on their tin foil hats.

Can we please keep tea-publican nonsense out of these forums?

+1 AmpedRealtor.

Here's a recent compilation of US state laws concerning Event Data Recorders:

Not every EDR system includes over-the-air transmission of data back to a Mother Ship. The California EDR law, for one, does seem to include telematics in its scope, though.

(due to spam filter, add ". a s p x" ,without the spaces, to end of URL above)

If you want off the grid, driving a vehicle with telemetrics isn't the way to go. The data privacy is a valid concern and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Automated driving most definitely isn't going to help matters as far as the availability of data and it's association to an individual.

However, the OP is incorrect--the information is available to Tesla Motors, not the government. The gov't requires a subpoena, warrant, or explicit consent of the subject to obtain the information.

-If a customer doesn't want the gov't to be able to legally be able to acquire the information, legislation is the answer. It's a long, difficult, but important path.
-If a customer doesn't want Tesla Motors to legally acquire the information, call them and turn off telemetrics. It's a short, easy and trivial matter to complete.
-If a customer doesn't want anyone to illegally acquire the information, good luck with controlling illegal activity--the world-at-large is still struggling with this.

Tesla is a Silicon Valley company with strong roots in software development, not a traditional auto maker. I have little doubt that at some point they will attempt to monetize the collected data the same way Google does, by selling it to merchants and advertisers. The connected car business case is very appealing to many hw and sw vendors, and Tesla holds they keys to that castle. We live in an era were privacy is a thing of the past -- if you surf the web, buy online, or drive a Tesla (or other connected cars). Get used to it.

"You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."
- Scott McNealy (1999)

With quite a few wild (to me) posts here, I must be in the minority. I wish all car companies would collect location data.

1) Criminals would be faster and easier to catch - saving us all more money.

2) Would give honest people a clear alibi saving a huge amount of hassles and saving government money.

3) Would help reduce people lying about who caused an accident. Might even cause a reduction of rates for those of us not causing accidents.

4) Could help to improve safety systems with analysis of location data.

5) While not a fan of ads, if some kinds of ads were to target me by location - great! The alternative is just random ads and spam that I rarely have any interest in.

6) Location data could identify where infrastructure would be the most useful. For example, Supercharger locations or extra traffic lanes.

Location data is already collected via phones to generate real-time traffic data. It's even more accurate and detailed than any car location data could be.

I really wonder why a few exceptionally vocal complainers are so concerned. What are they doing that they are so worried about? Why are they even on the Internet if they are worried about tracking?

Absolutely. Data collection isn't a bad thing! It's the abuse of that data that induces fear and creates issues. It's a balancing act, imho, TeslaTap: a lot of folks really don't need to be as worried as they are, however, it IS something we have to be concerned with and not take for granted, especially as information availability expands so drastically. Both governments and peoples make bad decisions from time to time.

On a humorous note, without the paranoids, I wouldn't be able to relax as much as I do currently :)

A good litmus test for this will be criminal trial of the Laguna Beach Doctor who drove his MS head-on into on-coming traffic on Laguna Canyon Rd, killing two driving men in a Honda Accord.

I am not sure the investigators were able to access the MS's 'black-box'' info, which could very well be used as direct evidence in the case...


Like others said, if you don't like it, just don't sign a piece of paper titled "Tesla Telematics Services Subscription Agreement." Or if you did sign, just call and opt out.

What's the issues?

Right now, our personal data are collected by private credit report agancies without our knowledge. Watch 60 minutes "40 Million Mistakes: Is your credit report accurate?"

The outrage should be focused there!

AmpedRealtor said "Can we please keep tea-publican nonsense out of these forums?"

Why do left wing liberals always want to stifle free speech that does not agree with their world view. Maybe that's the worst part of Government monitoring of your activities is that left wing liberals can then use the data to attack and silence their critics. Let alone the lefties constant attempts to silence people thru name calling. Saul Alinski would be proud. But you can keep your doctor, you know the one that amputated your leg so he could make more money.

The OP specifically raised the question of data collection by Tesla and Government agencies. That is a legitimate concern and totally appropriate for discussion here. It should concern every citizen that corrupt people in positions of power can improperly use data to destroy anyone who opposes them politically.

Or you can wait until the IRS gets a court order to obtain your car data to see if your expense receipts match up to your location. The potential for abuse and misuse of information in the governments hand is truly chilling comrade Amped.

@Roamer To save you trouble I'll volunteer all my travel data to IRS since I got nothing to hide. What is it you are afraid of?

@roamer: Do you use any of those cards from your grocery store that gives you special prices on some products? They are used to collect data on your buying habits.

At work, I can see if desktop support logged into my PC, and what files they "fixed". What I'd like to have, is a log of who, what, why and when someone accessed my data, Tesla, insurance, IRS, banks and otherwise. Just like the signs saying your on a red light, speed camera, or CCTV, I want to know if someone has pulled my driver record. Trans union, experian have to list which company inquired about your credit report, all other data keepers should do the same. Take the credit report dispute scenario, what if your car GPS/ speedometer was faulty, and said you were speeding all the time, you'd ignore it and mentally compensate, but if the black box says 90 you know you're doing 65, judge will find you guilty regardless, unless you can prove it was broke(and what judge hasn't heard every story in the book). you'd never know to get service, because some Prosecutor was claiming your dangerous off that false data. Baltimore sun went undercover to find that over 50% of speeding tickets by speed cameras were purposefully falsified by the 3rd party equipment(politicians, police fingers pointed every which way but the truth) same thing with broken parking meters! All those tickets people had no way to fight back, all assumed and found guilty unless you could prove your innocence. Even the lady who was at a complete stop when she got a speeding ticket! Maryland has some red light cameras set to turn red if you approach, and they will turn red faster as you approach some will even skip yellow. I've got it on my dash cam video if they ever send me a ticket. There was an investigation years back, but for some reason the media was silenced.

The difference here is that NSA, MI6, etc in General every citizen goes through an extensive background check and polygraph, which is painstaking, expensive, disqualifies almost everyone that applies and what person would risk losing their government job, pension and risk prison for violating their top secret clearance? That's just ridiculous to think that NSA would waste their 6 figure salaries and multi billion dollar equipment on little old you. Now an elected official, corrupt local sheriff or deputy with access to that data , that's what scares me.

"Liberals hate free speech" + "Saul Alinsky".

Roamer, you're in my Bozo Bin until further notice.

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