Musk responds to Tesla cars being banned by China military due to their inbuilt cameras over safety issues

Recently, the movements of Tesla manufactured vehicles have been banned in Chinese military complexes and housing compounds. The reason behind this ban, they claimed, was some sensitive data being collected via the inbuilt cameras in the Tesla vehicles.
According to people familiar with the directive, the military issued orders advised Tesla owners, to park their car outside the military property. Another person familiar with the matter said that the ban, passed on to military residents and others this week, as a result of concerns that some sensitive information is being collected by Tesla cars having in-built cameras. The information is collected in such a way that the Chinese government cannot see or control it.
Images of what was being believed to be the restriction notice were being circulated on Chinese social media as well. The Notice stated that the multi-direction cameras and ultrasonic sensors fitted by Tesla in their cars may “expose locations” and thus, the cars have been barred from military residences to ensure the security and safety of confidential information. Tesla’s Chinese representative declined to comment on the military’s decision.
On Friday, Tesla stock lost some of its early day gains and settled at 0.3 per cent up in New York.
Why do Tesla cars have inbuilt cameras?
Tesla uses a number of small cameras, mostly outside the car to help guide parking, self-directing and autopilot functions. Tesla is not the only one to use cameras; the same strategy is used by many other automobile makers including General Motors Corporation. In most of the Tesla models, an indoor camera is installed above the rear-view mirror, which detects the object in sight and the concentration of the driver. It can tell you if a driver is looking at the road, wearing sunglasses, looking down at his lap or looking at anything else altogether.
What are the internal Cameras?
The California-based corporation – which manufactures Model-Y SUV crossovers and Model 3S in the Gigafactory in China near Shanghai – didn’t refrain from the fact that the internally inserted cameras would be of when the company starts competing with Uber or Lyft and people allow themselves to earn money in the Tesla shared autonomy fleet. A tweet on the same lines have been shared by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in the month of April 2019. For example, as stated by Musk once, a person can check the video footage recorded by the camera if someone messed up his car.
Since that date, Tesla has begun to use the car’s internal cameras to monitor what they refer to as Full Self Driving (FSD) beta testers. The cameras are also sometimes used to monitor Tesla owners who volunteered to test the company’s driver-assist capabilities.
Musk tweeted at the beginning of this month that the FSD beta trial of the company had extended to some 2,000 car owners. The company, however, has also “revoked beta where drivers have not given adequate attention to the road.” Musk said the FSD beta would be released in April, this year.
It is also claimed that this program has driven new concerns in the country which contributed to the army’s ban.
However, the company clarified its position on this by stating that none of the in-car cameras sold in Chinese regions has been turned on. Moreover, those cameras are not even a part of the FSD test, the company said. Thus, Tesla’s privacy policies conform to China’s domestic and local laws.
How did China react to this?
China, the largest electric vehicle market in the world, is key to the global growth ambitions of Elon Musk. In contrast to Musk’s haughty approach in the United States, he associates a sense of deference and abidance towards the Chinese government. The Chinese authorities also provided significant support while Musk was building Tesla’s first factory outside the United States near Shanghai.
China’s tone appears to have changed, recently. Chinese regulators summoned Tesla to investigate quality and safety problems with its vehicles, including battery fires and abnormal acceleration. In early February, the automaker was forced to issue a public apology to China’s state grid after a video allegedly showed employees blaming a national electricity network overload for damage to a customer’s car.
Musk is expected to appear in a session titled: “The Next Disruptive Innovation?”. The session is hosted by China Development Forum on Saturday.
Has Tesla been involved in any other around inbuilt cameras?
Well, yes. This is not for the first time that the company has been dragged into a debate over the use of cameras by the government authorities. Last week, a group of hackers claimed to have breached a wide range of data collected from a security camera from Silicon Valley startup Verkada Inc. The hackers were able to access a variety of sensitive data including images from Tesla’s Shanghai warehouse. The data hack was performed to demonstrate the failure of the entire system due to the pervasiveness of video monitoring and the ease with which the hackers can access the information. The hackers in this breach gained access to as many as 222 cameras in Tesla factories and warehouses and were able to break into the systems.
How did Tesla react to the ban imposed by China?
Tesla’s CEO said on Saturday that the company would shut down if its vehicles were used to spy on China or anywhere else in the world. The response was Musk’s first comment on this entire controversy.
During a virtual discussion, Musk told a prominent Chinese forum that there is a very strong incentive for Tesla to be extremely careful about and confidential with any information it collects. He also claimed that if his company’s cars are being used to spy, the firm will get shut down.
Is there anything else connected to this ban?
Although nothing has been said officially, the restrictions on Tesla are being tracked down to the political tension between the two nations- the United States and The Republic of China.
The limitations on tesla movements surfaced after top Chinese and US diplomats had entered into deliberations in Alaska. The tense meeting between the two parties was the first such face-to-face meeting since US President Joe Biden took office in January.
In his remarks to the China Development Forum, Musk urged a higher level of mutual confidence between the two major economies of the world. He had a panel discussion with a Chinese quantum physicist Xue Qikun. Mr Xue heads Southern University of Science and Technology.
How has Tesla been performing in Chinese markets?
Tesla sold 147,445 vehicles last year, 30 per cent of its global total, in China, the largest vehicular market in the world and one of the main battlefields for electric vehicles (EVs). However, this year, domestic competitors from Nio Inc to Geely face more competition.
Musk has made multiple appearances in various Chinese high-profile shows, where Tesla makes and sells EVs. In 2019, Musk spoke with Alibaba’s outspoken founder Jack Ma about Mars and artificial intelligence (AI).
At a China-made Model 3 sedan delivery event last year, Musk enthusiastically danced on the stage, stripping off his jacket. The moment became a social media sensation.

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