Why Tesla drivers better mask the ‘secret’ camera in their car

Tesla’s onboard cameras are a cause for privacy concerns. People fear that insurers, police, and hackers could use the images.

The nearly invisible camera is located in the rearview mirror of the Model 3 and Model Y. It is turned off by default but can be turned on by the driver and, in theory, turned on remotely. If that is the case, the moments shortly before an accident can, for example, be recorded and read.

Elon Musk has previously said the camera is pre-installed for when Teslas are fully autonomous and take passengers for taxi rides. But last week, the CEO said the company is studying images from this camera as part of research into self-driving technology. When the camera is turned on, Tesla says it can use the images for research.


According to Consumer Reports, this raises questions about privacy. Automakers such as Ford and General Motors use infrared technology to identify drivers’ eye movements or head positions to alert them when fatigued or distracted. The big difference, however, is that the information from all these manufacturers is not included.

Consumer Reports raises the possibility that the recordings of the Tesla cameras might fall into the wrong hands. Several American websites recommend Tesla drivers who do not want to run the risk of being watched, therefore, not to switch on the camera and to cover it, either with a piece of tape or with a special slide.

Earlier this week, Tesla was also discredited in China, where Tesla drivers are no longer allowed to go everywhere. China is afraid that the cameras can be used to spy on, for example, near military complexes.

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