said all data generated from cars it sold in China will be stored in a new data center there.
The move by the U.S. electric-car maker follows government and public scrutiny in China of its 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 some state-owned companies, The Wall Street Journal reported. The restriction came amid concerns that the vehicles’ cameras could be sending information about government facilities back to the U.S.
Tesla Chief Executive
promptly denied that the company’s vehicles were being used to spy on China. Tesla subsequently said it would open a Chinese data center by the end of June to ensure that all information is stored locally.
“We have established a data center in China to localize data storage and will continue to add more local data centers,” the company said in a statement posted on its official
-like Weibo social-media account late on Tuesday. “All data generated from the sales of vehicles in the mainland China market will be stored domestically.”
Tesla in China
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As cars become connected electronic devices that transmit large quantities of customer, vehicle and geographical data to their manufacturers, auto makers in China have faced growing pressure to ensure data is protected and, in the case of foreign companies, stored locally.
In recent weeks, China has released a flurry of draft rules related to automotive data. Among them were the Cyberspace Administration of China’s draft rules that said auto makers should obtain their customers’ permission to collect personal data.
The rules, released this month, also said that data could only be sent overseas if the auto maker had passed a security assessment conducted by cybersecurity regulators.
While some foreign auto makers already store vehicle data in China, all will soon be legally required to do so.
Auto makers often use data to monitor vehicle performance and make safety improvements should the data highlight any problems.
Grace Tao, a Tesla vice president, took part in a public discussion of the draft rules arranged last week by the CyberSecurity Association of China, alongside executives from
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
among others, according to an online post by the association earlier this week on social-media app
Tesla also said Tuesday that it is developing a platform in China to allow customers to access data generated by their vehicle.
In April, Tesla published data logs from one of its Chinese cars for the first time in response to a protest from a local Tesla owner who claimed her vehicle had crashed due to faulty brakes. The data showed that the vehicle had been traveling at high speed before braking sharply right before the crash.
Tesla’s decision to publish the information sparked online debate about how auto makers should be allowed to use customer information and whether it was right to disclose vehicle data as a way of responding to a public complaint.
Write to Trefor Moss at Trefor.Moss@wsj.com
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