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MIT Technology Review

Tesla files a lawsuit against a former employee for allegedly leaking confidential IP

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Over the weekend CEO Elon Musk sent a company-wide e-mail indicating that Tesla had been “sabotaged” by a former employee. Today, Tesla filed a whopper of a lawsuit against a former worker who it suspects shared information.

The news:  Tesla’s federal suit alleges that Martin Tripp, a previous Gigafactory technician, leaked confidential information about the company to outside parties.

The lawsuit details: The lawsuit alleges that Tripp ...

     —  “Admitted to writing software that hacked Tesla’s manufacturing operating system (‘MOS’) and to transferring several gigabytes of Tesla data to outside entities.” Included in that information are “dozens of confidential photographs and a video of Tesla’s manufacturing systems.”
     —  Spread false information to the media. For example, according to the suit, he “falsely claimed that Tesla was delayed in bringing new manufacturing equipment online.”

Why it matters: This is the latest in a string of employment-related developments at Tesla, including a recent reorganization that reduced the workforce by 9 percent and allegations of unsafe conditions in the gigafactory. With this, Tesla looks to move away from a defensive PR strategy with a not-so-subtle message to current workers about potential consequences for leaking.