Following news that Chinese military personal and government officials have been banned from driving Tesla vehicles over concerns of the vehicles spying on Chinese secrets, Elon Musk says that Tesla is very incentivized to keep user data private.
The CEO claims that if “Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, [the company] would be shut down,” in a video call on a Chinese forum, according to Reuters.
This is due to the company’s ‘Sentry mode’ that uses the exterior self-driving cameras as security cameras for your car when it’s parked.
China is the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) market, accounting for 30 percent of Tesla’s overall sales. It’s unlikely that this will drive sales down, but it could tarnish Tesla’s reputation in the country and stifle its growth.
Tesla has always been very cautious when dealing with China, which is in stark contrast to how it handles its relationship with the U.S. government. For instance, last year during the beginning of the COIVD-19 pandemic, Musk just opened a factory without government approval and got away with it.