The most unusual thing about the job offer is the fact that Tesla openly publishes it on its homepage. A German-speaking "Security Intelligence Investigator" is being sought for the electric car factory in Grünheide, Brandenburg, i.e. a kind of internal company spy. He is "responsible for protecting Tesla's intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential information." The local Märkische Oderzeitung (MOZ) fears that Tesla wants to track down informants among its own employees.
Without whistleblowers, investigative reports by the MOZ, for example, on fires that are harmful to the environment, on abuses at the Tesla plant fire brigade or on the spillage of poison powder in a satellite camp in Grünheide would not have been possible," writes the newspaper.
According to the job posting, Tesla expects "several years of experience as an investigator with international/national law enforcement agencies or intelligence agencies and/or equivalent time in corporate security." The person will be part of a "team of investigators and analysts tasked with detecting, evaluating, preventing, or protecting against any undermining of Tesla's operations."
Collect data inside and outside Giga Berlin
Applicants should have "experience in conducting and overseeing complex, global investigations." "Knowledge of investigative strategies using technical-forensic skills and data" is also require. The future security investigator will collect data inside and outside Tesla premises to protect the company from threats. He or she is also said to conduct "highly sensitive, complex and confidential investigations into incidents involving data loss, intellectual property theft, technology misuse and conflicts of interest."
According to MOZ, filling this position is just another step to prevent "data loss" by employees. Because cameras are set up all over the site, mobile phones are banned or the phones have to be taped off in the production hall, for example.
Employees who log into the in-house WLAN should also accept the following notice: "Your organization has installed a certificate from a certification authority in your work profile. Your secure network traffic may be monitored or processed." Such middle boxes, which carry out a kind of man-in-the-middle attack, are controversial, but are used by many companies.
As a further protection, Tesla has assigned additional employees to monitor the employees of the different shifts. According to employees, a car with a camera also drives around the Tesla factory site to track down whistleblowers and violations. Drones have not been able to fly over the site for a few weeks because their signals are being disrupted, notes German publication Golem.
However, it should be customary in the industry for Tesla to require employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement. In any case, passing on trade secrets is a punishable offense. However, according to MOZ, the agreement also states: "None of this prevents the applicant from confidentially reporting possible legal violations to the responsible authorities or a court."
According to the newspaper, however, potential whistleblowers could be deterred by another passage. It reads: "If Tesla substantially wins any lawsuit to enforce this Nondisclosure Agreement, Tesla will recover the costs of enforcement from the Applicant, including reasonable attorneys' fees." The company makes it clear that it classifies violations as "irreparable damage for which financial damages would not be an appropriate remedy."
The fact that Tesla protects itself against factory and industrial espionage is nothing unusual in itself. Even the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution warns in an information sheet (PDF) against "internal perpetrators" in industrial espionage.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.