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If Tesla Knows When A Driver Isn't Paying Attention, Why Doesn't It Warn In The Moment?

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Shivdeep Dhaliwal
·2 min read
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Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) in-car cameras for driver monitoring are a privacy concern, as per Consumer Reports.

What Happened: The New York-based nonprofit member organization said that the safety benefits of driver monitoring through the cameras are undermined by privacy concerns.

“If Tesla has the ability to determine if the driver isn’t paying attention, it needs to warn the driver at the moment, like other automakers already do,” according to Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports’ auto test center.

A senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, John Davisson, told Consumer Reports that while there may be legal protections on who can access the data from the cameras there’s a possibility that “insurance companies, police, regulators, and other parties in accidents will be able to obtain that data.”

See also: How to Invest in Tesla Stock

Davisson also raised the possibility of data access by malicious actors and Tesla itself using it for purposes other than safety research.

Why It Matters: The approach taken by the Elon Musk-led automaker is different from other automakers such as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (OTC: BMWYY), Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), and General Motors Compay (NYSE: GM) in that the other automakers’ driver monitoring systems do not record, save, or transmit data or video, noted Consumer Reports.

The systems of these automakers reportedly rely on infrared technology instead of video to identify the driver’s head position and to determine eye movement.

The Chinese government last week restricted Tesla vehicle’s access to military and sensitive state-owned enterprises over concerns arising on the capability of cameras installed on and inside the vehicles, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Musk dismissed the Chinese worries by saying that there was a strong incentive for Tesla to “be very confidential with any information. ... If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down.’

Notably also last week, Tesla revoked access to its full-self driving software for drivers who did not pay enough heed to the road

Price Action: Tesla shares closed nearly 1.2% lower at $662.16 on Tuesday.

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