CleanTechnica Readers Vote With Tesla On Moral Right To Share Driver Data

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People don’t like to be the reason something bad happens. They lose even more interest if it’s something really bad, perhaps even criminally bad.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that some drivers have tried to blame their accidents on Tesla Autopilot. There were a couple of incidents (maybe more) where people seemed to accidentally hit “drive” instead of “reverse” or “brake,” then took out part of a wall and crashed their Tesla as a result … and then blamed the whole thing on Autopilot.

Apparently, they were either genuinely confused by what happened or didn’t know Tesla was constantly tracking their car.

In the cases I read about, Tesla put out statements that Autopilot was not engaged and these accidents happened due to driver error. Tesla seemed to avert PR disaster with its quick response … and its decision to share information about individual drivers’ vehicles.

The question that has been raised on several occasions is whether Tesla has the moral right to share individual driver data with the media. So, we decided to poll our readers about this.

  • In the majority, 52% of readers who responded went with the enthusiastic “Of course!” option, agreeing that Tesla has the moral right and perhaps even responsibility to share individual driver data in such situations.
  • Another 14% agreed, but less enthusiastically, choosing the second option — “I think so, but check with me again tomorrow…”
  • 5% were in a totally ambivalent mood, choosing “Meh.”
  • Another 7% went with the morally cautious but slightly uncertain “Probably not, but I’m no expert on privacy morals.”
  • And a full 22% felt strongly that Tesla was in the wrong — “Heck no!”

I didn’t have preconceived notions for how the survey would turn out. Privacy is something I think I’m generally atypical about, being an extremely open human being.

That said, it’s not too surprising that the majority would side with Tesla on this, particularly since it may be a matter of corporate survival to be able to defend itself against untrue allegations in the media.

Though, the result was clearly no blowout, and I think the debate about this is destined to continue since so many people feel so strongly about the matter of data privacy (and driver data privacy as a subset of that).

Anyhow, that’s all just about the morals of the matter — the law seems to be on Tesla’s side either way.


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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