National security —
Employees at sensitive facilities have been asked not to drive Teslas to work.
The Chinese government is restricting the use of Tesla vehicles at military bases, some state-owned enterprises, and other sensitive facilities, The Wall Street Journal reports. Tesla vehicles have eight cameras outside the vehicle and an internal camera facing the driver.
“The move follows a government security review of Tesla’s vehicles, which Chinese officials said raised concerns because the cars’ cameras can constantly record images, the people said, as well as obtain various data such as when, how and where the cars are being used,” according to the Journal. “The government is concerned that some data could be sent back to the U.S.”
Some Chinese government agencies have been asked not to drive their Teslas to work, according to the Journal. There are also restrictions on driving Teslas into housing compounds for personnel at agencies and companies doing sensitive national security work.
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In a statement to Chinese media, Tesla insisted that it takes privacy rights seriously and complies with Chinese privacy laws.
Both the US and Chinese governments have taken increasingly strict measures to promote home-grown information technologies and avoid dependencies on the other’s technology stacks. Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and ZTE have faced harsh restrictions by the US government in recent years. The Trump administration made efforts to ban Huawei from the US market altogether. By contrast, China welcomed Tesla’s new car factory in Shanghai.
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