China bans government employees from driving Teslas because of espionage risk

China reportedly bans the use of Teslas by military and government personnel. This is because the cars could constantly record images with their outdoor cameras, which could pose a threat to national security if those images go to the US.

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So say sources from The Wall Street Journal . The decision is said to follow from a security review of Tesla cars by the Chinese authorities. Not only the potential of espionage via the cars’ eight outboard cameras is a problem. The Chinese would also be concerned that the cars could access contacts in the occupants’ phones via Bluetooth.

China fears that this information could be sent to the US. The decision would apply to “all individuals in military complexes, government agencies, and sensitive state-owned companies such as aerospace companies.”

China did not respond in time for the news medium to be released, and Tesla only underlined that its privacy policy “complies with Chinese laws and regulations” and that the cameras in the cars are not enabled for all Teslas in China.

Such decisions are not new and do not only occur in China. For example, in January last year , the US Department of the Interior banned government agencies from flying with drones from the Chinese DJI. It did this from the same motivation that China has with this alleged move around Teslas.

China and the US have been engaged in a trade war for a long time. Prominent examples of fronts on which that battle is fought include TikTok, WeChat and Huawei. Trade with those Chinese companies is restricted or even prohibited in the US. China, in turn, uses the Great Firewall, which blocks Google, Facebook and Twitter, for example.