Report: Chinese Military Bans Tesla Vehicles From Facilities

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
report chinese military bans tesla vehicles from facilities

The Chinese military has decided to ban all Tesla vehicles from housing complexes and bases after citing them as a potential security risk. Since the cars use an array of ultrasonic sensors and cameras to create a panoramic view used for advanced driving features, China is concerned the American brand could use the cars to covertly map out sensitive areas.

According to Bloomberg, the new guidelines stipulate that all Tesla owners park vehicles outside all military facilities. While the official sources for those claims were left anonymous, Chinese social media did see residents of military housing make mention of the rule change earlier this week. The Wall Street Journal likewise reported that government agencies have asked staff not to drive Tesla models to work anymore.

From Bloomberg:

The order, issued by the military, advises Tesla owners to park their cars outside of military property, according to people familiar with the directive who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The ban, relayed to residents of military housing this week, was triggered by concerns that the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicles is collecting sensitive data via the cars’ in-built cameras in a way the Chinese government can’t see or control, one of the people said.

Images of what was purported to be a notice about the ban were also circulating on Chinese social media. Multi-direction cameras and ultrasonic sensors in Tesla cars may “expose locations” and the vehicles are being barred from military residences to ensure the safety of confidential military information, the notice said.

Tesla has always discussed its camera system as essential for advanced driving capabilities, with Elon Musk suggesting they also have security applications. But it hardly seems reasonable to point the finger at the brand when practically every automaker is outfitting their own products with the same kind of sensing equipment and the connectivity to theoretically broadcast that information anywhere there’s an internet connection. For our purposes, that just means more complaints about customer data rights and privacy violations. But China’s been perpetually concerned with informational warfare and had been trying to position itself favorably against the United States.

We’re wondering if this is just the start of something more serious. China has made it abundantly clear that it wants to become the dominant global superpower by 2028 and has begun mobilizing its military against American allies. Numerous analysts have also suggested China and the U.S. are already engaged in economic and political warfare. That doesn’t bode well for the future of American firms hoping to sell cars (or anything else) within the region. Additional restrictions seem unavoidable if relations between the two countries worsen.

Meanwhile, we’re still wondering why so few people are relaying these types of privacy concerns to the private sector. Governments around the world are talking about data protection and how to restrict the flow of information online via national security laws. But hardly anyone is issuing those same concerns to the automakers that are putting driver-facing cameras into cars that can track your every move.

[Image: B.Zhou/Shuterstock]

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  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Mar 21, 2021

    "Today China has 3x scientists over US." ...And China has close to 5x the population. My comment about ignorance isn't specifically about post secondary education. You can view it as an indictment of the whole primary, high-school and to a degree, post-secondary education system. Conventional media and social media are massive contributors. We don't teach people to search for the truth which would help overcome our natural tendency to seek validation. The quest for validation is easily manipulated by enemies, con-men, sales, and PR.

    • See 1 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Mar 23, 2021

      @old-WRX - Schools do need to teach the basics as you have said but they also need to teach dispassionate critical thinking. They need to teach logical problem solving. That includes learning how our own biases shape our thoughts and perceptions. A good example is history may be factual but it's written from the viewpoint of the victor, the dominant group writes the history books. Just like many in the dominant group believes this: "including all this new nutso race stuff". You just made my entire first point for me.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Mar 21, 2021

    “I have not found one who possessed a decent knowledge of the basics we require.” Based on your posts, it must be hard to find Russian troll farm operatives that are fluent in English and USA culture.

    • See 5 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Mar 22, 2021

      @slavuta “Russia does not extradite those who fights for human rights.” Why extradite when you have polonium and novichok.

  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"