Elon Musk’s Tesla has announced that it plans to store all data collected from car owners in China at a new data center within the communist country.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Tesla has stated that all data generated from cars it sells in China will be stored in a new data center in the country. The move follows government and public scrutiny over China’s handling of potentially sensitive data about vehicle users, car performance, and geographical information.
In March, the Chinese government restricted the use of Tesla cars by military personnel and the staff of certain state-owned companies. The restrictions were implemented following concerns that the cameras in the cars could be sending information about government facilities back to the United States.
Elon Musk immediately denied that the company’s vehicles were being used to spy on China, stated that it would open a Chinese data center by the end of June to ensure that all information is stored locally.
In a post to Weibo, China’s version of Twitter essentially, Tesla stated: “We have established a data center in China to localize data storage and will continue to add more local data centers. All data generated from the sales of vehicles in the mainland China market will be stored domestically.”
Tesla is just another example of a U.S. company that has bent over backwards to gain trust from China’s communist government. U.S. tech giant Apple has long been an advocate for user privacy, making it a key element of the company’s philosophy. But, according to a recent report from the New York Times, Apple seems quite happy to leave its user’s personal data easily accessible by the Chinese government.
The Times reported earlier this month:
Inside, Apple was preparing to store the personal data of its Chinese customers on computer servers run by a state-owned Chinese firm.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has said the data is safe. But at the data center in Guiyang, which Apple hoped would be completed by next month, and another in the Inner Mongolia region, Apple has largely ceded control to the Chinese government.
Chinese state employees physically manage the computers. Apple abandoned the encryption technology it used elsewhere after China would not allow it. And the digital keys that unlock information on those computers are stored in the data centers they’re meant to secure.
The Times also alleges that while U.S. regulations prohibit Apple from handing data over to Chinese authorities, storing user data on local Chinese storage creates a loophole allowing it. A Chinese firm named Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) is actually the legal owner of Apple iCloud customer data in China. Due to this, Chinese authorities can demand access to data from GCBD rather than Apple.
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Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org