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Tesla Hit With Class Action Lawsuit for Violating Customers Privacy

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A Tesla owner in California filed a potential class action lawsuit against the electric manufacturer on Friday, accusing it of violating customers’ privacy. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California after Reuters reported on Thursday that between 2019 and 2022, groups of Tesla employees privately shared sometimes highly invasive videos and images recorded by customers’ car cameras via an internal messaging system.

The lawsuit, filed by Henry Yeh, a San Francisco resident who drives a Tesla Model Y, claims that Tesla personnel had access to the photographs and videos for their “tasteless and tortious entertainment” and “humiliation of those secretly recorded.”

“Like any reasonable person, Mr. Yeh was outraged at the prospect of Tesla’s cameras being used to violate his family’s privacy, which the California Constitution scrupulously protects,” Jack Fitzgerald, an attorney representing Yeh, told Reuters.

“Tesla must be held accountable for these invasions and for misleading him and other Tesla owners about its lax privacy practices,” Fitzgerald said. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

According to the lawsuit, Tesla’s behavior is “particularly egregious” and “highly offensive.”

It stated that Yeh was launching the action “on behalf of himself, similarly situated class members, and the general public” against Tesla. According to the complaint, the prospective class would comprise those who owned or leased a Tesla within the last four years.

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Reuters said several Tesla employees witnessed clients “doing laundry and intimate things.” “We could see their kids,” a former employee said.

“Indeed, one of the most fundamental liberty interests society recognizes is parents’ interest in their children’s privacy,” the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit requests that the court “enjoin Tesla from engaging in wrongful behavior, including violating customers’ and others’ privacy, and to recover actual and punitive damages.”

Meanwhile, the Financial Review reports that Tesla has reduced the price of all its vehicles in the United States after price decreases during the first quarter increased sales.

The business reduced the price of its higher-volume Model 3 and Y electric vehicles by $US1000 ($1500) and the price of its more expensive Model S and X vehicles by $US5000. It also debuted a new base model of the Model Y, beginning at $US49,990.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has stated that he is willing to sacrifice profitability to continue growing in the face of rising interest rates and a possible recession.

tesla

Tesla is in the unusual position of having large profit margins to work with among EV manufacturers, as incumbents such as Ford Motor and younger entrants like Rivian Automotive and Lucid Group struggle to make money at lower volumes.

Musk stated at a January 25 earnings conference that orders were running at nearly twice the rate of manufacturing following Tesla’s initial lineup-wide price decreases earlier this year. However, the business could not maintain that supply-demand dynamic: deliveries increased by roughly 4% over the previous quarter, and Tesla produced nearly 18,000 more cars than it delivered to consumers.

Despite a second round of Model S and X discounts in early March, Tesla delivered just 10,695 units in the quarter, the lowest number since the third quarter of 2021. Following the most recent improvements, Tesla has reduced the price of each vehicle by at least $US20,000 and up to $US34,000 since the beginning of the year.

Earlier this year, the US carmaker reduced vehicle prices in China, sparking a pricing war in the world’s largest new-energy vehicle market. According to preliminary data given earlier this week by China’s Passenger Car Association, it exported 88,869 vehicles from its Shanghai production in March.

In China, a basic Model 3 costs 229,900 yuan ($33,400), while the Model Y costs 261,900 yuan ($38,086).

While Tesla continues to outsell other automakers in global EV sales, it faces greater competition than ever from China’s BYD Co, with BloombergNEF analysts anticipating the Berkshire Hathaway-backed manufacturer to challenge for the top spot this year.

Tesla must also ramp up the pace to continue growing at the rate that investors have come to expect. Last year, the corporation fell short of its aim of a 50% average annual increase in car deliveries, instead rising by 40%. Its growth rate fell to 36% in the first quarter.

On April 19, the Austin, Texas-based corporation will announce earnings.

In a proxy statement filed on Thursday, Tesla said that it is seeking shareholders to appoint JB Straubel, its former chief technology officer, to its board of directors to reorganize the carmaker’s senior management structure.

Straubel would succeed Hiromichi Mizuno, who has stated that he will not run for reelection. Tom Zhu, the driving force behind Tesla’s Shanghai plant, has also been named senior vice president for automotive operations.

The proposal to elect Straubel is one of five topics the firm has requested investors to vote on at its annual meeting on May 16. In contrast to the eight shareholder proposals considered in 2022, the proxy contains only one.

According to the filing, Musk did not receive a salary in 2022.

The proxy also provides an update on the number of shares Musk has pledged as collateral for the debt he has taken on, which is around 238 million, or 58% of his total shares. That amount is up from 52% when Tesla submitted its annual report in August 2022, when he had approximately 268 million shares pledged. The document also contains details regarding a change in its pledging policy, which limits the amount of loan Musk can promise.

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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Apple’s New China Problem: ChatGPT Is Banned There

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iOS 18 Update

Apple is depending on its planned AI features to improve iPhone sales, particularly in China, where demand has been slow. But there’s a problem: ChatGPT, which will soon be integrated into Siri, is illegal in China.

In a presentation earlier this month, Apple (AAPL) demonstrated its proprietary technology called Apple Intelligence, which will enable exciting new AI features, and announced a partnership with OpenAI to use their viral ChatGPT tool in a limited capacity. (When Siri is enabled and requires more assistance with a query, ChatGPT can come in.)

The move demonstrated Apple’s efforts to accelerate the latest buzzy technology at a time when major rivals such as Microsoft, Google, Meta, and Samsung have already established their AI foothold. An agreement with OpenAI could help Apple bridge the gap.

However, China is one of the first countries in the world to govern the generative AI technology that underpins these popular businesses. In August, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top internet watchdog, issued new industry guidelines requiring enterprises to seek approval before deployment. As of March, the organization had authorized over 100 AI models, all from Chinese enterprises.

chatgpt

ChatGPT | The Street Image

Apple’s New China Problem: ChatGPT Is Banned There

According to a Wall Street Journal article published Thursday, Apple is looking for a Chinese AI company to collaborate with ahead of the iPhone’s projected September release, although an agreement has yet to be made.

Apple did not return a request for comment.

The need to find a partner—and quickly—comes at a time when Apple’s smartphone sales fell a staggering 10% in the first quarter of this year, according to market research firm IDC. This was owing primarily to a steep decline in iPhone sales in China, which is the company’s second-biggest market. Nationalism, a difficult economy, and more competition have all contributed to the company’s decline in China.

Resurgent competitors.
Meanwhile, according to Counterpoint Research, Huawei’s smartphone sales increased by 70% in the first quarter.

If a solution is not developed by the autumn, Chinese consumers may feel shortchanged and opt to wait until they can have the complete AI experience with Apple, she noted.

“Apple is very likely to seek a local partner in China in place of OpenAI, because simply put, it needs to,” said Nabila Popal, senior director at IDC Research. “Chinese consumers are expecting their premium phones to have the latest AI functionality and may hesitate to spend over $1000 for devices that don’t have all the AI bells and whistles.”

“The real growth in China for Apple will come in the long term, as Apple Intelligence evolves offering more use cases, extends language support beyond English and when Siri can leverage other local AI models to provide the ChatGPT-like function,” according to Popal.

chatgpt

ChatGPT | CNN Image

Apple’s New China Problem: ChatGPT Is Banned There

Meanwhile, Reece Hayden, an analyst at ABI Research, suggested that some AI businesses in China may be better suited to target their customers by offering more local dialects than what is currently seen in overseas AI models.

Apple would be one of many foreign businesses collaborating with the Cyberspace Administration of China on AI and smartphones. In January, Samsung collaborated with Chinese tech giant Baidu (BIDU) to deploy its AI model to power its translation service. It collaborates with another AI business, Meitu, on photo editing tools. In other parts of the world, Samsung employs its proprietary AI technology, and Google’s (GOOGL) AI model, Gemini, is banned in China.

According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung accounts for less than 1% of China’s total market share.

Although the clock is ticking for Apple to sign a collaboration before its autumn software launch, Jeff Fieldhack, a research director at Counterpoint, believes it will be able to do so on time.

“Apple should be able to have a partnership aligned very quickly because it has such a strong global install base, and it would be a gem for these companies to work with them,” he added, saying that they will soon be identified as an AI powerhouse in the country.

Meanwhile, Reece Hayden, an analyst at ABI Research, suggested that some AI businesses in China may be better suited to target their customers by offering more local dialects than what is currently seen in overseas AI models.

chatgpt

ChatGPT | Unilad Image

Apple’s New China Problem: ChatGPT Is Banned There

Apple would be one of many foreign businesses collaborating with the Cyberspace Administration of China on AI and smartphones. In January, Samsung collaborated with Chinese tech giant Baidu (BIDU) to deploy its AI model to power its translation service. It collaborates with another AI business, Meitu, on photo editing tools. In other parts of the world, Samsung employs its own proprietary AI technology and Google’s (GOOGL) AI model Gemini, which is also banned in China.

According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung accounts for less than 1% of China’s total market share.

Although the clock is ticking for Apple to sign a collaboration before its autumn software launch, Jeff Fieldhack, a research director at Counterpoint, believes it will be able to do so on time.

“Apple should be able to have a partnership aligned very quickly because it has such a strong global install base, and it would be a gem for these companies to work with them,” he added, saying that they will soon be identified as an AI powerhouse in the country.

SOURCE – (AP)

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So Long Plastic Air Pillows: Amazon Shifting To Recycled Paper Filling For Packages In North America

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Amazon | AP News Image

Amazon is switching from plastic air pillows used for packing in North America to recycled paper because it is more environmentally friendly and claims paper works better.

The company announced on Thursday that it has already replaced 95% of plastic air pillows in North America with paper filler and plans to eliminate them by the end of the year.

“We want to ensure that customers receive their items undamaged, while using as little packaging as possible to avoid waste, and prioritising recyclable materials,” Amazon’s statement read.

amazon

Amazon | AMAZON IMAGE

Amazon Shifting To Recycled Paper Filling For Packages In North America

It is the company’s largest plastic packaging reduction program in North America to date, removing about 15 billion plastic air pillows from use each year.

According to Amazon, almost all customer deliveries for Prime Day this year, next month, would feature plastic rather than air pillows.

Environmental groups, notably the nonprofit Oceana, have long criticized Amazon’s usage of plastic packaging.

Matt Littlejohn, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Oceana, said that Amazon’s attempts to eliminate plastic packaging are encouraging, but the corporation can still do more.

“While this is a significant step forward for the company, Amazon needs to build on this momentum and fulfil its multiyear commitment to transition its North America fulfilment centres away from plastic,” Littlejohn said in a previous statement. “Then, the company should expand these efforts and also push innovations like reusable packaging to move away from single-use packaging everywhere it sells and ships.”

Amazon investors have also received widespread support, who have encouraged the corporation to clarify how it will cut waste.

amazon

Amazon | CNBC Image

Amazon Shifting To Recycled Paper Filling For Packages In North America

For the first time in 2022, the firm released the entire amount of single-use plastic used throughout its global operations in response to investor inquiries on trash reduction initiatives. The company used 85,916 metric tonnes of single-use plastic that year, representing an 11.6% drop from 2021.

In October, Amazon began phasing out plastic air cushions at an automated fulfillment center in Ohio. The company stated that it was able to test and learn at the center, allowing it to move fast towards shifting to recycled paper filling.

The move involved replacing machinery and educating personnel on new systems and machines.

Amazon established through testing that the paper filler, which is manufactured from 100% recyclable content and is curbside recyclable, provides the same, if not better, protection during shipment than plastic air pillows.

Christian Garcia, who works at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bakersfield, California, stated in a press release that the paper filler is easy to use and that the machinery allows employees more space to pack orders.

Amazon

Amazon | Investopidia Image

Amazon Shifting To Recycled Paper Filling For Packages In North America

The company noted that one of its ongoing attempts to reduce waste is a push to distribute things without additional packaging. In 2022, 11% of Amazon’s international packages were shipped without additional delivery packing.

Other efforts include piloting new technologies with artificial intelligence and robotics company Glacier, which will utilize AI-powered robots to automate recyclable sorting and collect real-time data on recycling streams for businesses. It collaborates with the United States Department of Energy on innovative materials and recycling initiatives.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

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Jeff Bezos | CNN Image

When will Jeff Bezos confront the crisis in his newsroom?

The Washington Post’s owner and Amazon millionaire has yet to take any meaningful action to address concerns at his newspaper, which continues in disarray while explosive reports are published on a daily basis, calling the outlet’s new publisher, Will Lewis, into severe question.

Staffers at The Post are losing patience with Bezos, whose only response to the Lewis disaster so far has been to send a 138-word, single-paragraph memo from his Mediterranean yachting vacation to a few leaders at The Post, assuring them that he wants standards to remain “very high.” That is the root of the problem, according to The Post staff. They, too, want standards to stay “very high” and are concerned that Lewis constitutes an active threat to that common goal.

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Jeff Bezos | Variety Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

More drama occurred Friday when Lewis said that Robert Winnett, whom he had identified as the paper’s incoming editor, would not be coming to manage the Post. This comes after The Post published a 3,000-word front-page exposé this week, revealing that Winnett had previously utilized documents from a self-described “thief” for reporting.

Frustrations and concerns are so severe at the outlet that two of the institution’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists have chosen to come out publicly, pushing for a change in leadership, an unprecedented move at the venerable newspaper. David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Post for nearly 50 years, said he doesn’t “know a single person at the Post who thinks the current situation with the publisher and the supposed new editor can stand.” Scott Higham, who has been with The Post for over two decades, concurred and urged for Lewis’ dismissal.

“Will Lewis needs to step down for the good of The Post and the public,” Higham posted on Facebook. “He has lost the newsroom and will never win it back.”

To summarise, Maraniss and Higham express what many in the newsroom believe. In meetings with more than a dozen people inside and close to The Post this week, it became evident that Lewis, in his brief six months on the job, has completely alienated personnel and now confronts insurmountable odds in regaining the employee base he hopes to lead. Whether or not he has strong business ideas is irrelevant. He has lost the respect of his staff. And any successful leader will tell you that without the credibility to lead, it is impossible to accomplish anything, let alone perform a Herculean company revolution.

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Jeff Bezos | CNN Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

Bezos’ spokeswoman did not reply to demands for comment on Thursday. But certainly, the millionaire realizes the grave predicament that has gripped The Post. And it’s hard to imagine he truly feels his brief memo to The Post’s leadership was sufficient to quell the worries that have sparked the extraordinary outrage at the newspaper. In fact, it’s worth noting that Bezos has not expressed support for Lewis recently, providing him options as he assesses the deteriorating situation and decides how to stop the bleeding.

Staff at The Post are eagerly awaiting Bezos’ action. Since Lewis’s fury flared earlier this month, CNN employees have repeatedly warned the outlet that the ongoing turmoil has diverted attention away from the newsroom’s essential job. With a high-stakes election just months away, it is far from ideal to have the attention of one of the country’s leading news organizations diverted by internal strife.

It’s “a massive distraction,” one Postie told me Thursday, adding that The Guardian’s eye-catching story accusing Lewis of allegedly advising then-U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “clean up” his phone amid the so-called “Partygate” controversies is “the talk of the newsroom.” (Both Lewis and Johnson refuted the story.)

“I don’t think the mood will change until something else changes,” the employee explained.

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Jeff Bezos | CNBC Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

In Bezos’ absence, reports questioning Lewis’ ethical integrity continue to emerge. According to the Financial Times, Lewis “retains links” to a public relations agency that advises powerful corporate and political figures on negotiating difficult circumstances. While the FT reported that Lewis had sold his ownership part in the company, it also stated that the firm had “continued to distribute regular emails from Lewis,” producing “confusion among people in contact with the agency.”

While the FT’s Thursday story lacked the weight of other news outlets’ recent reports, it did raise new questions about Lewis’ past and entanglements.

Meanwhile, as The Post and other sources, including The New York Times, continue to investigate Lewis’ past, many more concerns will arise. And as the inquiries continue, those at The Post will undoubtedly have one in particular for Bezos: What are your plans for restoring your newspaper’s reputation and status?

SOURCE – (CNN)

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