Whistleblower: China May Have Accessed Tesla Employees' Data

    Whistleblower: China May Have Accessed Tesla Employees' Data
    Photo: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • A former Tesla employee, Lukasz Krupski, has claimed that Chinese Tesla staff gained access to the data of more than 100K employees at the company. Writing to the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), he said the data accessed "could be very useful for Russian or Chinese intelligence."

    • Krupski, who first joined the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing company in 2018, told the Office that the data came from Tesla's project tracking software called Jira. It included passport numbers, medical details, and salaries of current and former Tesla employees across the world, among other things.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Tesla has exposed both employee and customer data on a global scale, which is why governments across the West are scrambling to probe the source of these breaches and develop security measures to prevent future scandals of this kind. While Tesla claims a "disgruntled former employee" is behind the bad press, other employees have come forward with similar findings. More than 100K files of personal information are vulnerable to international bad actors due to Tesla's failed security systems, which could jeopardize US security and give the PRC an advantage.

    Narrative B

    While steps toward better data protection should certainly be taken, it's important to understand the positive diplomatic outcomes of Tesla's business dealings in China. In the words of Elon Musk, the US and China are co-dependent superpowers who, without economic ties, could very well end up on opposing sides of the battlefield. In a similar fashion to sporting events, individual Western-based companies offering olive branches to China could help cool tensions as the economic world order begins to shift. The big picture shows Tesla being a boon to warming US-PRC relations in general.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 15% chance that Tesla will become the largest car company in the world (by sales) before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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