Are Tesla vehicles the new spies of the 21st century? The idea could make you smile if the head of security at the Landeskriminalamt (LKA, office in charge of the judicial police) in Berlin had not split an internal letter warning against the brand’s cars, suspected to spy on the police.
In this circular, which the Berlin news site BZ-Berlin was able to consult, the head of the LKA writes that the Tesla represent “a danger to the safety of employees, third parties (security and data protection) as well as to the buildings of the Berlin police (security of objects)“.
In question, the famous Sentinel mode, or Sentry Mode, designed to protect cars in the event of vandalism or theft thanks to numerous integrated cameras. For its part, the Berlin police suspect this anti-theft spy function … Hence a ban on Teslas approaching police stations and headquarters.
Indeed, concretely, Tesla does not just save the data, but sends it to servers located in the Netherlands, where only Tesla decides what to do with it and whether or not to distribute it.
But since then, the Berlin police have backpedaled and withdrawn this ban, said its spokesperson, who nevertheless acknowledged sending the circular internally.
According to the latter, it was above all a question of raising the awareness of all the police on data protection. They are asked not to take photos of their premises or sensitive places such as ammunition depots with their smartphones or via the surveillance system of a connected car… Tesla, not to mention it.
It must be believed that Tesla cars are a problem for the Berlin police, who seek parades such as precise routes or parking spaces protected from view for police officers who own a Tesla. This would prevent “security areas such as ammunition bunkers, civilian cars with camouflage license plates, and areas of civilian investigators or special forces are covered by Tesla cameras“. Another solution considered, to cover the Tesla confiscated during investigations.
This situation is reminiscent of China, where certain regions hosting sensitive sites are prohibited for Tesla vehicles. The latest example, the Chinese district of Beidaihe, in the northeast of the country, which would have banned Tesla cars from circulating on its territory for at least two months from July 1. The reason ? Holding a meeting of the Communist Party leadership.
Remember that the Sentinel mode has solved many cases – as evidenced by many videos posted on YouTube. He also supported the police on certain investigations by giving them access to Tesla’s European data center and the vehicle’s internal memory, upon presentation of a judicial search warrant.