SINGAPORE: China’s government is restricting the use of Tesla Inc.’s
vehicles by state military company personnel in sensitive industries and key agencies, citing concerns that cars from the US electric vehicle maker could be a source of national security leaks, according to people familiar with the effort.
The move follows a government safety review of Tesla vehicles, which Chinese authorities said found that the cars’ sensors could record visual images of surrounding locations, the people said. In addition, the Chinese government said that Tesla, through the vehicles, could obtain various data such as when, how and where the cars are used, as well as personal information of the drivers and the contact list of the mobile phones that are synchronized with the cars. people said. The government is concerned that some data may be sent to the United States, the people said.
The government has informed some of its agencies to ask its employees to stop driving Tesla cars to go to work, they said. Some of the people said that Tesla cars were also banned from housing complexes for the families of staff working in sensitive industries and state agencies. Their agencies told them that one of the government’s concerns is that Tesla vehicles may be constantly in recording mode, using cameras and other sensors to record various details, including short videos.
China’s State Council Information Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla declined to comment on the government’s move. He referred The Wall Street Journal to a comment he had previously made to Chinese media in response to earlier concerns about data security. “Tesla’s privacy protection policy complies with Chinese laws and regulations. Tesla attaches great importance to protecting the privacy of users, ”he said. He also said that in-car cameras are not turned on for all Tesla vehicles in China.
The China market, where CEO Elon Musk has been widely praised, has become increasingly important to Tesla. Deliveries in the country last year helped the company achieve approximately 500,000 vehicle deliveries globally, a record. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which began construction of its Shanghai plant in January 2019, currently manufactures the Model 3 sedan and Model Y compact sport utility vehicle at the factory.
Write to Keith Zhai at [email protected]
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