Tesla vehicles sent to the junk yard after a crash carry much more data than you'd think. According to CNBC, citing two security researchers, "Computers on Tesla vehicles keep everything that drivers have voluntarily stored on their cars, plus tons of other information generated by the vehicles including video, location and navigational data showing exactly what happened leading up to a crash." From the report: One researcher, who calls himself GreenTheOnly, describes himself as a "white hat hacker" and a Tesla enthusiast who drives a Model X. He has extracted this kind of data from the computers in a salvaged Tesla Model S, Model X and two Model 3 vehicles, while also making tens of thousands of dollars cashing in on Tesla bug bounties in recent years. Many other cars download and store data from users, particularly information from paired cellphones, such as contact information. But the researchers' findings highlight how Tesla is full of contradictions on privacy and cybersecurity. On one hand, Tesla holds car-generated data closely, and has fought customers in court to refrain from giving up vehicle data. Owners must purchase $995 cables and download a software kit from Tesla to get limited information out of their cars via "event data recorders" there, should they need this for legal, insurance or other reasons. At the same time, crashed Teslas that are sent to salvage can yield unencrypted and personally revealing data to anyone who takes possession of the car's computer and knows how to extract it. The contrast raises questions about whether Tesla has clearly defined goals for data security, and who its existing rules are meant to protect. A Tesla spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC: "Tesla already offers options that customers can use to protect personal data stored on their car, including a factory reset option for deleting personal data and restoring customized settings to factory defaults, and a Valet Mode for hiding personal data (among other functions) when giving their keys to a valet. That said, we are always committed to finding and improving upon the right balance between technical vehicle needs and the privacy of our customers." The report serves as a reminder for Tesla owners to factory reset their cars before handing them off to a junk yard or other reseller because that other party may not reset your car for you. "Tesla sometimes uses an automotive auction company called Manheim to inspect, recondition and sell used cars," reports CNBC. "A former Manheim employee, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed that employees do not wipe the cars' computers with a factory reset." The researchers were able to obtain phonebooks "worth of contact information from drivers or passengers who had paired their devices, and calendar entries with descriptions of planned appointments, and e-mail addresses of those invited." The data also showed the drivers' last 73 navigation locations, as well as crash-related information. The Model 3 that one of the researchers bought for research purposes contained a video showing the car speeding out of the right lane into the trees off the left side of a dark two-lane route. "GPS and other vehicle data reveals that the accident happened in Orleans, Massachusetts, on Namequoit Road, at 11:15 pm on Aug 11, and was severe enough that airbags deployed," the report adds.

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