Tesla sues ex-employee alleging data theft, leaks to media

A Tesla spokesperson recently told CNBC that the company received a threat from an alleged "friend of Mr. Tripp" who claimed that he would come to the Gigafactory battery plant in Nevada and "shoot the place up".

Fortunately for Tesla, the company has broken a lot of good news this week as well.

"The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has confessed so far is pretty bad", Musk wrote without describing who he was referring to.

"His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive".

"Tripp retaliated against Tesla by stealing confidential and trade secret information and disclosing it to third parties, and by making false statements meant to harm the company", the court documents alleged, adding that Mr Tripp admitted some of the accusations when confronted. The firm's attorneys said Tripp worked at Tesla from October to last week, when company investigators confronted him with evidence. Although Tesla didn't have any comment on the email exchange, Tesla said Tripp is falsely positioning himself as a whistleblower when he stole Tesla data and made false claims about the company's waste, production numbers, and use of damaged batteries in Model 3 cars.

This resulted in Tripp being reassigned to a new role in May of 2018, a move that the former employee reportedly expressed anger at. The data includes " Dozens of confidential photographs and a video of Tesla's manufacturing systems". Tripp vehemently denied this, and the local Storey County Sheriff's office found no evidence to support Tesla's story. Since the email was distributed, Tesla has identified the former employee, Martin Tripp, as responsible for hacking, stealing and leaking false data.

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"Tripp claimed that punctured battery cells had been used in certain Model 3 vehicles even though no punctured cells were ever used in vehicles, batteries or otherwise", the suit alleges.

Previously, in emails to Tesla staff, Musk warned that the motivation was likely "sabotage".

Two weeks ago Tesla announced a round of layoffs that would total about 9% of its total workforce. The automaker is also suing for breach of employee contract, which forbids the transfer of proprietary information to third parties, among other things.

However, Tripp is claiming he is simply a whistleblower.

"I would rather see [Musk] produce 4,500 a week and have there be absolutely no issues with the auto than produce 5,000 a week and have there be issues with the vehicle", he said. I didn't hack into system.

It would indeed be more hard because you need to time your visit with your vehicle going into the specific part of the production line where it makes sense to let inexperienced people help to work on the auto.

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