German authorities said on Friday that they were investigating electric carmaker Tesla after a potentially large-scale leak of personal employee data, reported dpa.
There was a possibility that the data was widely accessible within the US company, said a spokesman for the data protection authorities in the German state of Brandenburg, where Tesla has a large factory.
"Should this turn out to be the case, the issue would be extremely serious from a data protection viewpoint on account of the large number of persons affected worldwide," he added.
German business daily Handelsblatt has reported being passed an estimated 100 gigabytes of data apparently from Tesla by informants. The information relates to customers, employees and business projects.
Tesla told Handelsblatt it suspected a former employee was behind the leak and said the employee had breached confidentiality obligations, "using access as a service technician to extract information."
Tesla said it was considering taking legal steps against the suspected former employee.
The Brandenburg spokesman said the information related not only to employees at Tesla's plant near Berlin, but also those at other German and European operations. He said the Dutch data protection authorities were being kept informed of the case.
- Data leak