When police in Basel announced last year that they were planning to buy seven electric Tesla Model X-100D cars for a total price tag of just under a million francs, the news sparked global interest.
The arrival of the first new cars was also widely covered, including in The Local.
But the champagne was quickly put on ice after the cars were confined to barracks because of data protection concerns.
Local justice and security agencies were worried that sensitive data could be transmitted to Tesla, given that the emergency response vehicles are connected to the Internet.
However, after working through a series of issues with Tesla, Basel’s data protection agency has now given the police the all-clear to use the vehicles – as long as certain conditions are met.
In a report, the canton’s data protection officer Beat Rudin said he was satisfied potential data protection issues related to the transmission and storage of video and audio recordings, and of images as well as vehicle location data had been satisfactorily resolved.
In his report, Rudin also noted dashcams would not be used in the new Tesla police cars and recommended that the vehicles’ Tesla Sim card be replaced by one belonging to a Swiss telecommunications provider.
The Local contacted Tesla recently in relation to this story and asked if it had specific data policy guidelines on the sale of vehicles to security, police or the military. The company said that this was not necessary as it already provided all of its European customers with a high degree of privacy protection, completely in line with the EU General Data Protection Regulation.