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Watching over you? Hacker discovers purpose for Tesla’s interior camera

Most people probably don’t even know it’s there, but your Tesla Model 3 and Y has an interior camera and it’s looking at you. Positioned right above the rearview mirror, the tiny camera blends seamlessly into the black background its placed in, most people never know it’s there.

Last year Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the camera was installed to keep an eye on passengers when the company’s cars have the capability to become autonomous taxis in the future. When passengers inside the driverless shuttle do misbehave, you’ll have video record of their action if needed. In short, the camera is currently inactive. At least that’s how the story goes.

Twitter user @thegreenonly recently discovered that the camera may in fact be active now and monitoring driver behavior. Before you get too worried, @thegreenonly suggests the car is looking for erratic driver behavior to potentially eliminate crashes. The tweet below was posted listing off what the camera is looking for.

Screenshot: @greentheonly / Twitter

Driver attention alert systems began rolling out on high-end vehicles over the last decade, but many of these systems use steering inputs to determine whether the driver’s behavior is inconsistent. Using the existing camera technology inside of Tesla models is an innovative use of existing hardware and may be the most advanced driver attention system commercially available.

For privacy purposes, an early modification many new Tesla owners make to their vehicles is to cover the camera — like they would a laptop camera. While an inside camera is a little creepy, we can’t help but think of the potential this feature has to help keep drivers safe.

Photo credit: Luckeasy / Amazon.com

If you’re totally creeped out at the notion that a camera is pointed at you behind the wheel, there are elegant solutions to keep Big Brother at bay. What are your thoughts? Is it worth giving up your privacy for a safety feature?

Written by Samanthan Rutherford