Tesla Sues Ex-Employee for Hacking Nevada Operating System and Data Export

The sabotage comes as Tesla ramps up Model 3 production

Martin Tripp of Sparks, Nevada, admitted to Tesla investigators that he wrote software that transferred several gigabytes of data outside the company, including dozens of photographs and a video, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

According to the Washington Post, Tesla is accusing Tripp of not only the theft of sensitive data, but also leaking false and damaging information to the press. His superiors are said to have had issues with the process technician's job performance and his sometimes disruptive and combative attitude with colleagues.

"As a result of these and other concerns, on or about May 17, 2018, Tripp was assigned to a new role".

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim.

In addition, "he included large quantities that were not scrap from 2018 at all, but that were instead items such as materials from past year that had already been included in Tesla's 2017 financials, or that were simply serial numbers assigned as part of routine system testing to components that were never even made". "Tripp claimed that punctured battery cells had been used in some Model 3 customer vehicles even though the evidence clearly demonstrates that no punctured cells were ever used".

Countering these allegations, Tripp, in a statement to CNN Money, said, he had discovered 1,100 damaged Model 3 battery modules that were installed on the electric cars. But Tripp said he tampered with no systems and shared information with the media only after seeing things that alarmed him within the company, including what he says were dangerously punctured batteries used in Tesla's latest Model 3 sedans.

But those plans changed when Musk announced last week that he is cutting 9% of his workforce to help reduce costs and boost profits.

A Tesla spokesperson had no additional comment.

I suggested that instead of building any vehicle, it would be more fun for tour-goers, who are mostly Tesla owners, to help build a part of their own auto.

The lawsuit adds a new layer of intrigue to a Silicon Valley giant already consumed with production pressures and internal suspicions from Musk about a corporate conspiracy.

Tripp said he is seeking an attorney and official protections as a whistleblower.

But Tripp hit back: "I am being singled out for being a whistleblower". I didn't hack into system.

Regarding the end of the partnership with Home Depot, the move is part of a strategy to make SolarCity's business an organic part of Tesla, including selling its products via Tesla stores and the company's website.

SolarCity founder Lyndon Rive, who is Musk's first cousin and left Tesla a year ago, did not respond to a request for comment.

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