Tesla data collected in China is kept in China, says executive

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said his company would be shut down if its cars were used to spy


Reuters April 14, 2021
A Tesla Model S electric car is seen at its dealership in Seoul, South Korea July 6, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Data collected from Tesla’s electric cars in China is stored in China, the US automaker’s vice president said, after reports that China’s military has banned Teslas from its facilities.

“Tesla as a company with operations in China must abide China’s laws and regulations,” Tao Lin told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday.

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“Our data is very well protected. Chinese data is stored in China.”

Tao said Tesla, which is building electric Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles in Shanghai, would share its understanding of data protection with the Chinese government.

Sources told Reuters on Friday that the Chinese military has banned Tesla cars from entering its complexes, citing security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles, two people who have seen notices of the directive told Reuters.

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The move is the latest sign of China’s growing scrutiny of the US electric carmaker amid tensions with Washington. Analysts said it resembled Washington’s measures against Chinese telecoms firm Huawei citing national security.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said in March his company would be shut down if its cars were used to spy.

Chinese military restrictions on Tesla surfaced as senior Chinese and US officials held a contentious meeting in Alaska, the first such interaction since US President Joe Biden took office.

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