Tesla's in-car cameras prompt privacy concerns: Consumer Reports

If turned on, Tesla cameras in certain vehicles will collect footage from the moments before a crash

Tesla's use of in-car camera footage raises consumer privacy concerns, Consumer Reports reported.

The electric vehicle maker studies footage from cameras within certain Model 3 and Model Y vehicles for research related to its self-driving technology, which prompts questions about consumer privacy, according to CR.

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CR also argues that Tesla's use of camera footage for self-driving research undermines the safety benefits of using cameras and radars for "driver monitoring" systems that ain to alert drivers when they lose focus of the road.

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"If Tesla has the ability to determine if the driver isn't paying attention, it needs to warn the driver in the moment, like other automakers already do," Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports' auto test center, said.

A picture taken on September 5, 2020 shows a "Tesla Model Y" car. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

Tesla did not immediately respond to an inquiry from FOX Business.

The cameras are turned off by default, but if turned on, Tesla cameras in certain vehicles will collect footage from the moments before a crash to "develop future safety features and software enhancements," its website states.

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Other driving monitoring systems, including those belonging to BMW, Ford, GM and Subaru, do not save or submit camera footage to automakers, including systems, according to CR. Infrared technology used in these systems detects eye or head movements to alert drivers when they are losing focus rather than camera footage.

CR's findings come after China banned the country's military members and employees of government-owned companies from purchasing Tesla vehicles, citing concerns about potential data-collection through Tesla cameras that could lead to national intelligence leaks after a review, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

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"China led a security review of Tesla's EVs and reportedly found that Tesla's sensors could record image [sic] of their surrounding locations," Dan Ives and Strecker Backe, analysts at Wedbush Securities, said on March 17.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during a virtual Chinese forum on Saturday that if Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere," the company "will get shut down."