Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
Tesla cars have been banned by police in the German capital Berlin over spying fears sparked by the vehicles’ high-tech cameras.
The ban comes just a day after China banned all Teslas from a resort town where the country’ secretive leadership group is holding a conference.
Berlin’s State Criminal Police Office – or Landeskriminalamt (LKA) in German – reportedly confirmed their ban.
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.
The ban comes just weeks after a new Tesla ‘giga-factory’ opened on the outskirts of Berlin.
An internal police document seen by German media says 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.”
Tesla cars have already been banned from entering Beidaihe, northern China, because of fears over their cameras spying on a meeting of its leaders.
Chinese officials say the cars will be unable to enter the district for two months from July 1.
The reason for the ban in Germany, acording to the internal document, 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 believe that any recordings made by a Tesla will be out of their hands.
The document states that anyone can request the data “without any problems” and that only Tesla can make the decision to release it or not.
The move could apparently affect a high-ranking police officer.
German media names him as Thomas Goldack, the head of Directorate 2 in the west of Berlin, whose personal vehicle is a Tesla.
He will reportedly have to decide whether or not this private Tesla vehicle can continue to access police premises.
Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon 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 USD-5.5-billion factory just outside Berlin.
The plant covers a 300-hectare area in the municipality of Gruenheide in the north-eastern German state of Brandenburg.
According to the Brandenburg state government, Musk wants to expand the site and potentially turn it into the company’s first major hub in Europe.
Frauke Zelt, the spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Environment in Brandenburg, confirmed on 5th May: “Tesla’s plans to acquire additional land east of the Tesla site are known to the state government.”
Local media said the company intends to buy around 100 hectares east of the current plant for storage facilities and a freight depot.
According to reports, six hectares of the planned expansion site belongs to the electricity supplier Edis and the rest belongs to Brandenburg State.
In the first expansion stage, 500,000 vehicles a year are expected to roll off the assembly line.
However, Tesla said it will only gradually ramp up production and it is still unclear when the number will be reached.
The planned battery factory, where Musk wants to manufacture his own modern battery cells, is still under construction.
Tesla is yet to confirm the reports of a planned expansion.
Such a site would have to be designated as an industrial area, which requires an updated development plan.
The state’s Ministry of the Environment confirmed that it has yet to receive a concrete offer from Tesla.
Musk’s long-delayed, USD-5.5-billion ‘gigafactory’ was given last-minute approval by the German authorities and obtained its final environment permit in March.
During the launch event, Musk said: “Thank you, Brandenburg, thank you, Gruenheide, thank you, Germany.”
He reportedly celebrated the opening of the gigafactory with a visit to a kinky Berlin sex club.
German daily newspaper Bild claimed the Tesla CEO went to the notorious KitKatClub before heading to other venues.