On Friday, March 19, Bloomberg confirms that Tesla cars are now banned to be used inside or near military bases in China.
This was over the allegations that Tesla cars were being used to spy sensitive data, collected through its cameras.
Tesla cars’ spying allegations
For over the years, Elon Musk’s EV production company Tesla has been working a good relationship with China.
However, recently, a source from China—who requested not to be identified on the reports—claimed that the country is now banning Tesla cars to be used inside or near the military bases of the country.
The order, already relayed to residents of military houses this week, was said to be done in order to protect the national security of the Asian country. The government reportedly speculated that the EV company was spying through their camera cars, in order to gather personal data.
As said on the report, the multi-direction cameras and ultrasonic sensors, installed inside a Tesla car, may “expose locations” that can trigger a security warning for all Chinese military personnel.
Unfortunately, the sources behind the report didn’t specify how extreme the threat was, or how the Chinese military come up with these allegations.
Does Tesla have spying cameras inside vehicle?
So far, there are still no reports of a confirmed possible security threat in using Tesla’s cameras—even before.
As explained, a single Tesla model has multiple cameras installed, not for spying, but for maneuvering purposes.
For example, the several cameras were installed in order to help driver in parking, autopilot, and self-driving feature of the vehicle.
Most Tesla models also have an interior camera mounted above the rear view mirror that can be used to detect whether a driver is looking at the road, looking down at their lap, wearing sunglasses, or looking at something else entirely.
This will allow Tesla to identify whether the driver is fit to be using their autopilot feature, especially for beta testers.
What Elon Musk has to say
Tesla CEO said that the internal cameras were placed “for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft and people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.”
These cameras, however, are the main reason behind the allegations of the Chinese country.
But, based on further researches, none of the in-car cameras in Teslas sold in China are turned on or part of the FSD beta trial, the Tesla representative said in Al Jazeera.
Tesla also reiterated that they have not violated any privacy policies in the country, especially with allegations of using illegal data from their Chinese users.
Huge effect for Tesla sales
Though not still accurate, China is said to be the world’s biggest consumer of EV products.
Tesla alone, builds a factory in Shanghai, the capital city of China. This was the first outside-US facility that the company built so far.
If the Tesla-China allegations continue to worsen, the EV company might be facing a huge loss soon.
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