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Tesla 'saboteur' sued by automaker says he was whistleblower
25 June 2018, 01:24 | Cedric Leonard
A Tesla telenovela
Also this week, Elon Musk has tweeted a rather extraordinary message, claiming the new Model 3 assembly line constructed inside a large tent was built using scrap materials the company found laying about its warehouse.
Teslafiled a lawsuit against Tripp on Wednesday, claiming he stole "gigabytes" worth of data and made false statements to the media, allegedly in response to being reassigned after job performance problems. There's still no suggestion that the employee had any higher agenda than settling a petty dispute with Tesla. "This includes dozens of confidential photographs and a video of Tesla'smanufacturing systems".
Emails seen by Business Insider show Musk and former Tesla technician Martin Tripp had an explosive exchange this week, with Musk accusing his former employee of being a "horrible human being". Tripp's hacking of Tesla systems was seemingly created to export confidential information - not delay the manufacturing process or cause fires - and it appears that all of his actions were retaliation against Tesla for perceived mistreatment, rather than industrial espionage.
The statement also insists that "no punctured cells were every used in Model 3 vehicles in any way". By placing the hacking software on other computers, it would indicate that the computer users were responsible for exfiltrating data; wrongly indicating other Tesla employees.
The firm has pushed back against the suggestion that Tripp, 40, was a whistleblower. Tesla declined to comment on the lawsuit to CNBC and didn't immediately respond to Inverse's request for comment.
Former Tesla employee, Martin Tripp, told USA news media Wednesday night that he had not tampered with the carmaker's internal systems and was, instead, a whistleblower who spoke out after seeing "some really scary things" inside the company.
Tripp: "Don't worry, you have what's coming to you for the lies you have told to the public and investors". He told CNN in a separate interview that he found 1,100 damaged batteries were installed in Tesla's Model 3cars and are now on the road and being driven by unsuspecting drivers. As electric and semi-autonomous cars are rapidly increasing in popularity, the technology held by Tesla could be highly sought-after by competitors, raising the question of just where Tripp's illicitly obtained data were sent.
At the same time, Tesla stopped door-to-door sales, once among SolarCity's most successful means of reaching new customers, and salespeople were no longer allowed to hold local events or buy online leads, the former employees said.
There are literally injuries with Model 3. Analysts with GTM Research believe the move by Tesla is a way to cut sales and marketing costs as retailers tend to take a significant portion of the profit.
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