Recently, Tesla employees were sent an email listing every possible consequence that could be brought to bear against them if they leaked company information.
The list included potential and past firings, felony charges and lawsuits that had happened with leakers who brought information outside of the company.
For example, one former employee “exfiltrated confidential business information from the Tesla domain to his personal account and threatened to disclose confidential company information.”
Result: Tesla filed felony charges against that person.
There was also mention of two other lawsuits, which Tesla brought against former employees over intellectual property and “stealing proprietary information and trade secrets.”
The email isn’t much of a surprise to anyone, as secrecy is a huge part of Silicon Valley culture, with new ideas and new tech being carefully guarded until reveal.
Tesla, in particular, may be trying to protect its current projects, as the company is trying to raise more capital.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has been investing in a driverless future for Tesla, getting investors onboard by talking about the company’s leading hardware development.
It’s a time where Tesla needs to keep its information private, as the company deals with supplier and trade issues which have recently become a problem.
A recent Nikkei report suggests that there is tension between Tesla and its main battery supplier, Panasonic.
Trump’s trade tariffs may also impact the Autopilot ECU (engine control unit), a Tesla’s autopilot “brain.” They are assembled in Shanghai, China by a company called Quanta Computer.
If the tariffs are too harsh, Tesla may cease making self-driving cars in China, instead relocating to another country. This would close autopilot car production and push back release timelines.
At this time, Tesla is holding on to their information ever tighter and leakers should beware.