This is why we don't get Tesla insider information easily

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been notoriously successful in keeping the company's inside information watermarked to keep the possible leakers at bay.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (AP)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Despite several high-profile automotive projects, we rarely get insider information from Tesla. What keeps the leakers at bay? Tesla CEO Elon Musk has the answer. He has hinted at how the Texas-based electric vehicle manufacturer watermarks inside information to keep the possible leakers at bay. While he has revealed only a single hack, there are many other ways the auto company adopts to prevent information leaks.

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Elon Musk has revealed on Twitter how Tesla caught a leaker in 2008 by digitally watermarking inside emails. He has written in reply to a Twitter user that to catch a leaker, his company sent identical emails to all the employees, but each of them was actually coded with either one or two spaces between sentences. The emails were sent using unique binary signatures that helped the automaker to identify the leaker. “That is quite an interesting story. We sent what appeared to be identical emails to all, but each was actually coded with either one or two spaces between sentences, forming a binary signature that identified the leaker," he wrote. Musk also wrote that it was his idea to send digitally watermarked emails.

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In another instance, Musk found the whistleblower by reprinting a file. Once he reprinted the specific file, he went back through the printer logs to find a similarly sized document printed earlier, which led him to the leaker. Interestingly, these are among several tactics the Tesla CEO follows to prevent information leaks at his companies. An article at The Intercept goes deep into how different types of methods have been adopted by Musk and his companies to track the leakers.

Tesla, or any other company led by Elon Musk, are not the only firms that follow digital watermarking as a normal practice to prevent information leaks. But, how Musk and his companies follow such practices aggressively makes them one of the most highly secretive automotive OEMs in the world.

First Published Date: 19 Dec 2022, 10:05 AM IST

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