China concerned over Tesla cars collecting sensitive data
March 29, 2021
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by Snigdh Baunthiyal


China has banned Tesla cars from its military complexes and housing societies citing security concerns. There are concerns about the cars collecting sensitive data around them using their inbuilt cameras.

The order has been issued by the Chinese military. Tesla owners can still use the car, but have been directed to park outside military complexes The order has been issued by the Chinese military. Tesla owners can still use the car, but have been directed to park outside military complexes, Bloomberg reported. Tesla has sold around 147,445 cars in China in 2020. The Chinese sales account for 30% of Tesla’s global sales.

Tesla cars have multi-direction cameras and ultrasonic sensors, which has prompted fears that the cars’ location can easily be exposed.

CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk has said ‘There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information. If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down.’ He was speaking at an online video conference for the China Development Forum

China’s Defence Ministry is yet to make an official statement, however pictures of the notice banning the car was circulating on Chinese social media. 

Tesla and its cameras

Tesla’s interior cameras are the ones attached on Model 3’s rear-view mirrors. There have been questions about privacy regarding the camera before and Elon Musk explained the camera’s functionality on Twitter. He wrote, “It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.’’

These cameras are also used to monitor full self-driving beta testers, who are Tesla car owners who have volunteered to test the cars’ self-driving capacities.

However, in compliance with Chinese laws, the interior camera does not turn on in cars sold in China and is nor used for full self-driving beta testers either.

Many people have raised privacy concerns over the se of these cameras, so much so, that many bought camera lens blockers to make sure the camera is unable to record any activity in the car.

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