The Communist Party of China’s Internet Information Office issued new regulations on May 12 on car data management, which will prohibit the transmission of user data and data collected by in-car cameras and sensors outside of China without permission. Some commentators have suggested that the regulations are mainly aimed at Tesla.
Comprehensive mainland media sources, the Netcom regulations show that all data obtained from all vehicles operating in the mainland are not allowed to be transmitted outside of China without permission. These data include the design, production, sales, operation and maintenance, management of cars in China in the process of collecting, analyzing, storing, transmitting, querying, using, deleting and providing personal information or important data outside the country. If personal information or important data really need to be provided outside the country, it should be subject to the data exit security assessment organized by the Internet information department.
Tesla Vice President Tao Lin recently said that the data collected in China will strictly comply with the authorities’ laws and regulations on data management and achieve local storage.
Tesla has been in constant trouble on the mainland, with one wave not subsiding before another. Following a Tesla customer’s dissatisfaction with brake failure at the Shanghai Auto Show, Tesla is now being attacked by the mainland media and held accountable by regulators, with five Communist Party regulators investigating whether there are quality problems with Tesla’s Shanghai-made Model 3 cars. The Chinese military earlier banned Tesla cars from military barracks and family compounds, citing security concerns about the vehicles’ cameras.
Commentator Wen Xiaogang believes that the recent furore over the rights of female Tesla customers on the mainland involves the issue of Tesla’s collection of customer data, and that the Netcom Office is clearly targeting Tesla with this regulation at the moment.
He said, according to the current situation, Tesla driving data is in the hands of Tesla, the data will be transmitted back to Tesla’s cloud database. And now the regulations show that all the data obtained by Tesla when running in the mainland can only be saved in the mainland, which will certainly have an impact on Tesla’s operations in the mainland.
Some industry insiders speculate that Tesla is likely to follow Apple’s practice and adopt a data storage method similar to “Guizhou on the Cloud”, storing data in mainland China. In 2017, Apple entered into a partnership with Guizhou on the Cloud, handing over the iCloud service to the latter to ensure that data does not leave the country.
Concerns have been raised about the security of Apple customers’ data because of the Communist Party’s dictatorial rule, which allows it to access the data of any company.