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CAC: International Transfer of Car Data not Allowed without Approval

Well-known Chinese news site NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES) recently reported that the Chinese Nation Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC, also known as the State Internet Information Office) just published the draft Automobile Data Safety Administrative Regulations for public comments. The proposed regulations will ban cross-border transfer of any data collected through an automobile camera or other sensors. This new move is expected to cause damage to Tesla’s operation in China. Modern electric automobiles, like market leader Tesla’s, are usually equipped with various sensors like GPS receiver, camera, radar, sonar, and lidar. Typically, these sensors generate a large amount of data that will be uploaded to the manufacturer’s database servers. These data can be coupled with the owner’s personal information for storage. Though Elon Musk promised not to provide data to any government, yet Tesla is after all an American company. It is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government, which can turn the promise into an empty promise. China has banned Tesla in some government areas as well as some military areas. The new regulations require approval before data leaves China and consent from the owner. Also, even approved data needs to remove personally identifiable information such as human faces. An analyst expressed the belief that China is worried about national security if sensitive data falls into the hands of the U.S. government.

Source: NetEase, May 13, 2021