According to a report by German newspaper Handelsblatt on Friday, a massive data leak by a Tesla whistleblower exposed Elon Musk’s social security number. The newspaper claimed to have received 100 gigabytes of data, which included sensitive information such as names, salaries of both current and former Tesla employees, customer contact details, and details about the company’s production. It’s important to note that Insider has not independently verified the authenticity of the leaked documents referred to as the “Tesla files.”
The leaked data also revealed that Tesla had allegedly received approximately 4,000 customer complaints, including issues related to “phantom braking,” which is currently under investigation by federal authorities. Handelsblatt reported that Tesla instructed its employees to only communicate about complaints verbally to avoid creating written records.
Last summer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expanded its investigation into Tesla after receiving over 750 complaints from owners who experienced sudden braking at high speeds. Handelsblatt suggested that the data leak might violate Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which aims to safeguard the collection and processing of personal information of European citizens. If found guilty of breaching GDPR, Tesla could potentially face significant fines.
Handelsblatt cited a Tesla lawyer who attributed the breach to a “disgruntled former employee.” Dagmar Hartge, an official from the data protection office in Brandenburg, where Tesla’s gigafactory is situated, characterized the data leak as “massive,” according to The Guardian.
This recent leak follows a previous report by Reuters in April, which revealed that some Tesla employees had internally circulated videos captured by in-car cameras, showcasing interactions with vehicle owners.
Insider reached out to Dagmar Hartge, Tesla, and Elon Musk for comment but received no immediate response, likely due to the request being made outside of regular working hours.