BEIJING: The Chinese military has banned Tesla vehicles from entering military housing complexes, citing security concerns about the cameras installed on the vehicles, according to two people who have seen the guidance notices.
The military order was advising Tesla owners to park their cars outside the military property, Bloomberg earlier reported, adding that residents of military residences were notified this week of the ban.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Chinese government has been restricting the use of company cars by individuals in military and state-owned companies in sensitive industries and major agencies, as they could be a source of national security leaks.
It was not immediately clear whether the measure applied to all of these facilities.
Neither the Information Office of the State Council of China nor Tesla immediately responded to Reuters requests for comment. The Chinese Ministry of Defense could not be reached for comment.
Tesla cars have several small cameras externally to assist with parking and self-driving. The Model 3 and Model Y also have cameras built into the driver’s safety rearview mirror that are disabled by default.
Tesla boss Elon Musk has been open about the indoor camera, taking to Twitter in 2019 to say: “It’s there when we start to compete with Uber / Lyft and people allow their car to make money for them as part of Tesla’s shared autonomy fast. In the event someone messes up your car. You can watch the video. “
Musk often talked about the value of data that Tesla vehicles can capture that can be used to develop autonomous driving functions. Other automakers are also equipping vehicles with cameras and other sensors that can take pictures of things around the vehicle.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the move came after a government security review of the company’s vehicles, citing people familiar with the efforts.
The report added that Chinese officials have found that Tesla vehicle sensors can record visual images of surrounding locations.
Tesla shares were down slightly in pre-bell trading on Friday.