China recently came down hard on Tesla cars being parked in sensitive zones like military complexes over suspicions about these electric vehicles collecting and storing data. Owners here were asked to park these vehicles at a distance from sensitive zones. Tesla has now come out to allay concerns and has stated that it abides by all local laws and rules.
China is an extremely important market for Tesla and crucial for its ambitions of maintaining lead in the EV race worldwide. That the country is the world's biggest EV market and that it became home to Tesla's first production facility outside of the US also underling the significance attached to the country. Little wonder then that to ruffle feathers here may come with extra pain. "Tesla China is a company that’s based here and must abide by all Chinese laws and regulations," said Grace Tao, ,Tesla China's head of communications and government affairs. "In fact, our data will be very well protected. Chinese data will be stored in China."
The matter pertains to China raising concerns over potentially sensitive data being captured and stored by cameras that come built into Tesla EVs.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had previously denied his company would ever indulge in spying. The EV maker has also underlined that it is committed to respecting and following laws in the country and to cooperate with regularity authorities. It was further clarified that cameras on Tesla cars aren't activated anywhere outside of North America and that customers in the US too had the option of either having these cameras on or off.
The on-board cameras are used to provide the driver of the vehicle with several functionalities that assist parking, autopilot and self-driving. Several Tesla cars also have a camera inside the cabin which monitors driver's attention, among others. And it isn't just Tesla but more and more car manufacturers are packing cameras into their cars which, while an obvious highlight, has also raised privacy concerns.