Police in Germany’s capital city Berlin banned Tesla cars over concerns about spying sparked by the vehicles’ high-tech cameras. The move came just a day after China banned all Teslas from a resort town where the country’s secretive leadership group is holding a conference.
Berlin’s State Criminal Police Office – or Landeskriminalamt (LKA) in German – reportedly confirmed their ban saying that the ban applies to “all properties of the police headquarters and the State Criminal Police Office.”
But a spokeswoman for the LKA reportedly said: “The other departments should now check for themselves to what extent they can drive Tesla vehicles onto their premises or into objects.”
None of the electric cars manufactured by tech billionaire Elon Musk will be allowed in any city police complex belonging to the State Criminal Police Office.
According to the internal document, the reason for the ban in Germany is: “A security-related threat to employees, third parties (security and data protection) and the properties of the Berlin police (property security).” The internal police letter also draws attention to the all-round cameras that feature prominently in Musk’s vehicles. The document goes on: “All vehicle models from the manufacturer Tesla make permanent, event-independent video recordings of the entire vehicle environment and export these recordings.”
It says recordings are “permanently stored on Tesla servers located abroad (Netherlands).”
The police letter said that it is “incomprehensible” that Tesla users apparently have no knowledge of how the data is processed. Police are concerned that anyone can request the data “without any problems” and that only Tesla can make the decision to release it or not.
Tesla cars have already been banned from entering Beidaihe in northern China over their cameras spying feature ahead of a meeting of its leaders. Chinese officials say the cars will be unable to enter the district for two months as of July 1.
As the ban comes into effect, Musk is said to be aiming to expand his Tesla factory in Germany to create the electric car firm’s first major hub in Europe. In March, Musk and German leader Olaf Scholz opened a new $5.5-billion factory just outside Berlin.
Frauke Zelt, the spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Environment in Brandenburg, confirmed May 5 that “Tesla’s plans to acquire additional land east of the Tesla site are known to the state government.”