Is China spying on Tesla?


Tesla and other electric vehicle companies in China are sending up to 61 data points in real-time, usually unbeknownst to the driver, to monitoring centers backed by the Chinese government, reports the Associated Press. the data that China requires from car manufacturers to transmit can be used for surveillance purposes.

Tesla and more than 200 other automakers, including Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Nissan and Mitsubishi, have sent location information and details on the function of the battery and engine of electric vehicles to monitoring centers supported by the government.

While many cars in the United States, Europe and Japan send location information to car manufacturers that transmit data to tracking and equipment applications, passenger car data is stopping there in these markets. Government agencies and law enforcement can access more personal data in these markets than in the case of a specific criminal investigation, lawyers told Erika Kinetz, a lawyer.

In China, the amount of real-time data sent and collected in monitoring centers is much larger, raising concerns about confidentiality, the use or otherwise of data for mass surveillance, and the question of whether proprietary manufacturer / engine / battery / battery data could be used to the benefit of Chinese government-backed companies.

The automakers say they're content to abide by local laws to send data from electric vehicle sensors to monitoring centers, according to the AP. China says the data is used for data analysis to improve infrastructure planning and public safety. But critics of the vast amount of real-time data collected fear that this data goes far beyond China's goals of improving security and infrastructure.

The builders initially refused to send as many data points to the Chinese monitoring centers, and then the government decided to share the data with incentives – data transmission is a necessity, said a consultant government that helped evaluate the policy.

The government's surveillance fears may not be unfounded, given the communist country's goal of keeping everyone in alignment and the recent media attention on China's plans to puts a social credit system in place to prioritize its citizens.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for

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