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China has banned personnel from parking Teslas at military compounds, as well as the use of Tesla by people working at state agencies and sensitive industries, due to concerns that sensors and built-in cameras in Teslas could collect sensitive data about China, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, quoting sources with knowledge of the plans.
China’s government is restricting Tesla vehicles for personnel at military and other sensitive industries after a government security review of the cars of the U.S. electric vehicle manufacturer showed that the sensors in Teslas could record images of the surrounding locations, the Journal’s sources added.
Moreover, the synchronization of the phone contacts in Tesla vehicles and personal information about the drivers have also raised concerns within the Chinese government, which fears that some of the data could be sent to the U.S. Tesla’s full self-driving tests have also raised alerts within the Chinese government.
Asked to comment on the story, Tesla referred the Journal to a previous statement about security concerns in China, which said: “Tesla’s privacy protection policy complies with Chinese laws and regulations. Tesla attaches great importance to the protection of users’ privacy.”
According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg News, the military has issued an order telling personnel driving Teslas to leave their cars parked outside military property when going to work, or into housing compounds for the families of people working in the military or other sensitive industries. Teslas are banned from military residences so that China can protect confidential military information, according to a notice about the ban, Bloomberg reports.
China is a very important market for Tesla, which built in Shanghai its first Gigafactory outside the United States, to level the playing field on the competitive Chinese EV market with electric cars made in China and eligible for incentives, unlike the vehicles sold in China but imported from the United States.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com