Tesla Says its Vehicle Cameras are Not Activated in China

Tesla’s electric vehicles (EVs) are outfitted with many cameras and sensors for Autopilot, and recently they came under fire from the Chinese military for concerns over privacy and security.

On Wednesday, Tesla China said that the cameras on its EVs aren’t activated outside of North America, in an apparent defence against recent claims of privacy concerns made by the Chinese government, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Following the initial incident, Tesla CEO Elon Musk later said that Tesla would get shut down if its cars spied on users, and he later went on to praise China on its own State Television channel.

In a post on Weibo Wednesday, Tesla said, “Even in the United States, car owners can freely choose whether to turn on the function.”

Consumer Reports also shared privacy concerns last month, following the ban of Tesla’s vehicles in China by military personnel.

However, even as Tesla defends its use of cameras saying it won’t share the footage with anyone, the company also employs several high-level data and network security measures elsewhere in the company, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that they would do the same for their cameras and footage.

With China being the world’s largest auto market, it also remains the most important market for Tesla to continue operating in – further emphasizing the need for Tesla to stay on the country’s good side.