Yet another privacy issue sparks debate, this time in China. According to sources, the Chinese military has banned Tesla cars from entering their facilities and complexes, arguing security and privacy concerns over the cameras installed on the Tesla vehicles.
They were concerned that the vehicle’s cameras which constantly record footage may be used to gather images to be sent back to the US. These restrictions surfaced as the top Chinese and US diplomats were holding a diligent meeting in Alaska, these were the first high-level talks and in-person interaction between the two governments since US President Joe Biden took office in January
China is Tesla’s largest market after the US, accounting for 30% of its total global sales in just 2020. However, local Electric Vehicle (EV) companies are competing this year. Elon Musk, the chief executive of the US electric carmaker Tesla said that his company would shut down if its cars were used to spy on China. These were his first comments in response to the news that China military had banned Tesla from its facilities.
He said if a business did engage in spying on a foreign government, “the negative effects for that company would be extremely bad”. He told this to an influential Chinese business forum via video chat that “There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information” and “If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down”.
There has been a lot of controversy about the operation of big American companies in China especially after Huawei was banned from the US. Relations between China and the US are at their most strained for years.
Elon Musk has been urging greater mutual trust between the two economic powers considering Tesla’s market in China and the company being based in the US. He has tried to lessen concerns over companies sharing sensitive data with their home governments. He referenced the case of TikTok, the Chinese-owned video platform, saying “Even if there was spying, what would the other country learn and would it actually matter?”.