Volkswagen has to pay a fine of 1.1 million euros for violating data protection rules when testing assistance systems for new car models. This was announced by the office of the responsible state representative in the VW home state of Lower Saxony, Barbara Thiel, on Tuesday.

Accordingly, a commissioned service provider on a research trip in Austria did not mark a car equipped with cameras accordingly in 2019. The vehicle recorded its surroundings, and the data was used to train and test accident prevention functions. Volkswagen confirmed the case and acceptance of the fine notice.

In addition, a detailed contract with the service provider deployed near Salzburg was missing, it said, as was a “data protection impact assessment” with risk assessment. Finally, documentation obligations were not fully met with regard to the question of which “technical and organizational protective measures” were taken when processing the data around the car.

The deficiencies meant violations of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation – but not serious ones, and VW immediately turned them off. The company said it regretted the incident. It was agreed to end the administrative offense proceedings by paying the fine.

At the end of June, VW competitor Tesla made a name for itself with the use of data from cameras – but this was about regular series vehicles. The Berlin police prohibited the cars from driving on certain areas of the police headquarters and the State Criminal Police Office.

As a result, officials feared a security and privacy issue because Tesla’s cameras were constantly filming their surroundings. This could record police officers, police vehicles, site security or other people.

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