chinese government\'s monitoring of electric cars raises surveillance fears

by:CTECHi     2020-04-24
SHANGHAI-When Shan Junhua bought his white Tesla Model X, he knew it was a fast, beautiful car.
What he doesn\'t know is that Tesla is constantly sending information to the Chinese government about the exact location of its cars.
Tesla is not alone.
China has called on all Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers to make the same report --
With President Xi Jinping stepping up the use of technology to track Chinese citizens, the Chinese government may add a wealth of monitoring tools.
\"I don\'t know this . \"
\"Tesla can have it, but why do they pass it on to the government?
Because this is a privacy issue.
\"More than 200 manufacturers including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, GM, Nissan, Mitsubishi and the United StatesS. -
Launch of listed electric vehicles-
Transmitting location information to the government and dozens of other data points
The Associated Press found a support monitoring center.
Usually, this happens without the knowledge of the owner.
Automakers say they are only complying with local laws that apply only to alternative energy vehicles.
The data were used for analysis to improve public safety, promote industrial development and infrastructure planning, and prevent fraud in subsidized projects, Chinese officials said.
But other countries are the main market for electric vehicles.
America, Japan, Europe
Don\'t collect this realtime data.
Critics say the information collected in China is beyond what is needed to achieve the country\'s stated goals.
It can be used not only to weaken the competitive position of foreign automakers, but also to monitor --
Especially in China, where privacy is rarely protected.
Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China launched a war of dissent, combining big data with artificial intelligence to create a more complete police service, can Predict and eliminate the obvious threat to the stability of the ruling Communist Party.
People are also worried that these rules come from next-
More personal information may be transmitted soon.
\"You learned a lot about people\'s festivals --to-
Daily activities, that\'s part of what I call ubiquitous monitoring, where almost everything you do is recorded and saved, and may be used to influence your life, said Michael Chertov, who once served as Secretary of State of the United States. S.
Department of Homeland Security under President George W.
Bush recently wrote a book called data on the explosion.
Global automakers should ask themselves tough questions, says Cher Tov.
\"If what you\'re doing is providing a tool for large-scale monitoring to the government of a more authoritarian country, I think companies have to ask themselves,\" as far as our corporate values are concerned, this is really what we want to do, even if it means giving up the market?
A bigger brother?
The Shanghai Electric Vehicle bus data collection, monitoring and research center is located in a gray tower on the outskirts of Jiading district.
On the first floor of the cafeteria, a wall-
The size of the screen flashes dots, each representing a car traveling along a Shanghai Road to create a huge real world
Time maps of places where people live, shop, work and worship can be displayed.
With a random click on a point, up will pop up a window with a number that identifies each car, along with its brand and model, mileage and battery power.
All in all, the data displayed on the screen came from more than 222,000 cars in Shanghai, most of which were passenger cars.
\"We can provide the government with a lot of consumer data to help them improve their policies and plans,\" said Ding Xiaohua, deputy director of the center.
Profits that are closely related to the government and funded by the government.
According to the national regulations released in 2016, electric vehicles in China transmit data from car sensors back to manufacturers.
From there, automakers sent at least 61 data points to the Ding regulatory center in Shanghai, including the location and details of battery and engine functions.
The data also goes to the national new energy vehicle monitoring center operated by Beijing Institute of Technology, which obtains information from more than one place.
According to the statistics of the national new energy vehicle Big Data Alliance, there are 1 million vehicles in the country.
The national monitoring center declined to answer questions.
These numbers are much larger.
Although the sales of electric vehicles accounted for only 2.
6%. over the past year, policymakers said they wanted new energy vehicles to account for 20% of total sales in 2025.
Starting next year, all Chinese automakers must reach the lowest output of new energy vehicles as part of Beijing\'s positive efforts to reduce reliance on foreign energy, and put yourself at the forefront of a growing global industry.
The Chinese government has shown interest in tracking vehicles.
\"The government wants to know what people are doing at all times and respond in the fastest way,\" said Maya Wang, a senior Chinese researcher at Human Rights Watch.
\"There is no protection for national surveillance.
\"Tracking vehicles is one of the main focus of their large-scale surveillance,\" she added . \".
Last year, authorities in Xinjiang, an unstable region in western China, ordered residents to install GPS equipment in order to track their vehicles, which has become a laboratory for China\'s monitoring status, according to state media.
This summer, the police agency, the Ministry of Public Security, began rolling out a system to track vehicles using windshield radio frequency chips that can identify cars that use roadside reading equipment.
Ding Lei insisted that the purpose of the electric vehicle monitoring plan was not to facilitate state monitoring, although he said that data could be shared with government public security organs if a formal request was made.
Instead of sharing information with police, prosecutors or courts, the center said it used the data to help the government investigate vehicle fires.
A privacy firewall is built into the system.
The monitoring center has a unique vehicle identification number for each vehicle, but to connect that number with the owner\'s personal information, it must go through the car manufacturer
It has taken a step in the past.
Chinese law enforcement authorities can also independently link the vehicle identification number to the owner\'s personal information.
\"Frankly, the government does not need to monitor through platforms like ours,\" Ding said . \".
He said he believes the security forces, like other governments, \"must have their own way to monitor suspects \".
The wheel data of many vehicles in the United StatesS.
Europe and Japan pass the location information to the car manufacturer, which feeds back the location information to the car manufacturer
Locate tracking apps, maps for nearby facilities and emergency service providers.
But the data is parked there.
Government or law enforcement agencies usually have access to personal vehicle data only in the context of specific criminal investigations and the United StatesS.
Lawyers say court orders are often required.
Automakers initially refused to share information with the Shanghai monitoring center;
The government then uses data transmission as a prerequisite for getting rewards.
\"Automakers see this data as a valuable resource,\" said a government adviser who helped assess the policy and discuss sensitive issues anonymously.
\"They gave you dozens of reasons why they couldn\'t give you the data.
They give you a lot of excuses.
Then we offer incentives.
Then they want to give us the data because it\'s part of their profit.
\"There is concern that the data extracted from electric vehicles may reveal some proprietary information, such as how hybrid vehicles can switch between gas and battery power, and eventually established a commercial competition with the Chinese government.
As cars become more connected, automakers want to leverage new data-based sources of revenue --
McKinsey estimates that the market will be worth $750 billion by 2030.
Ding Lei said that a Tesla executive came to Shanghai and questioned him about the regulations.
\"The first question is who you are, the second question is why you collect this data, and the third question is how to protect the privacy of users,\" Ding said . \".
Tesla declined to comment.
The NDA prohibits the sharing of proprietary information in data centers, Ding said.
Still, he is open to his business ambitions.
He wants to get the center out of government funding without infringing anyone\'s privacy or intellectual property rights and make money from the data.
\"We did some exploration,\" he said . \"
\"But there is still a distance to truly make a profit.
The Chinese government\'s ability to get data from cars gives its academics and policy makers an advantage over the competitive countries.
China tends to see technological development as a key competitive resource.
Despite billions of dollars in awards and subsidies from the United States for global automakers. S.
The European and Japanese governments are providing data to the Chinese government that ultimately serves Beijing\'s strategic interests. In 2011, the U. S.
The Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory, began nationwide research on how electric car owners drive and charge.
John Smart, head of the center\'s advanced vehicle group, said participants had expressly agreed in writing to allow government labs to collect their data, and even then the data was not delivered in real time.
Instead, the team gets historical data every week.
The study assigned random numbers to the car, so the owner remained anonymous.
Nothing similar has been done since the United StatesS. , Smart said.
\"The cost of collecting data is very high,\" he explained . \".
\"The government does not believe that it is necessary to provide the money, and the manufacturer who has invested in it chooses to keep the findings confidential for proprietary reasons.
Published in 2015, the research at the Idaho National Laboratory was the largest ever.
All in all, the study combined some additional data to help researchers in Idaho analyze 21,600 electric vehicles over 0. 158 billion miles (
0. 254 billion).
During the same time that researchers in Idaho published their research report, the Shanghai Electric Vehicle bus data collection, monitoring and research center began collecting real-time data.
Time information from more than 222,000 cars has accumulated more than 4.
7 billion miles (7.
6 billion)
Driving history.
\"As a researcher, I think data sets can be used to answer hundreds of questions,\" Smart said . \".
\"I have a notebook half an inch thick filled with questions.
\"Global Automakers emphasize that they will share data in order to comply with Chinese regulations.
Almost everyone has announced plans to aggressively expand their electric vehicle products in China, the world\'s largest car market. There\'s real-
\"In China, we have to provide car data to government systems,\" said Jochem Heizmann, Volkswagen\'s China chief executive . \".
He acknowledged that he could not guarantee that the data would not be used for government monitoring, but stressed that the public maintained the security of personal data (such as the identity of the driver) in their own systems.
\"Yes, it includes the location of the car, but it doesn\'t include who is sitting in it,\" he said . \" He added that cars will not reveal more information than smartphones.
\"There is no principle difference between sitting in a car and being in a shopping mall and carrying a smartphone with you.
Jose Munoz, Nissan\'s head of China operations, said he was not aware of the monitoring system until the Associated Press told him, but stressed that the automaker was operating according to law.
Asked by The Associated Press about possible human rights violations and business conflicts caused by data sharing, Muños shrugged with a smile.
\"At Nissan, we are very committed to the Chinese market,\" he said . \"
\"We see this as a market with the biggest growth opportunities.
Ford, BMW and Antonio declined to comment.
Mitsubishi did not respond to requests for comment.
GM and Daimler said they transmit data in accordance with industry regulations and obtain consent from car buyers on how to collect and use vehicle data.
Tesla refused to answer specific questions, but pointed out the privacy policy signed by buyers at the time of purchase, which stipulates that vehicle data can be \"shared with other third parties\" when required by law \", \"Although the Chinese version of the policy does not specifically mention the government monitoring center.
Interviews with car owners indicate that such disclosure is not valid.
Of the nine electric car owners, only one knew that his car data had been provided to the government --
He said he knew it because he was an electric vehicle engineer.
Min Zeren, who owns the Tesla Model S, said: \"It\'s no use caring about it . \"
\"If you are worried, there is no way to live in this country.
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