China’s strengthening grip over data collection may hinder its burgeoning mobility sector
In June, Chinese regulators released the latest policy draft regarding the general collection and use of data by tech companies within the country. The law, which takes effect on September 1, tightens rules on how data can be collected and shared with third parties in a broad range of industries, including tech, transportation, telecommunications, and finance, which will bring implications for the country’s tech titans such as ByteDance, Alibaba, and Baidu.
The auto sector will also be impacted by Chinese policymakers’ new focus on data protection, as the vast amount of geographic and personal data collection needed to power modern automotive solutions has prompted concerns around safeguarding “national security and the public interest.” In fact, just a month earlier, on May 12, China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC) released a separate policy specifically targeting the automotive industry’s collection and use of location-based and geographic data.
The new policy tightens the collection and management of two types of data: personal user information and “important data,” which includes city mapping, automobile and pedestrian traffic flows, electric charging infrastructure, as well as audiovisual data from cameras and sensors. The new legislation will also forbid the unapproved overseas transfer of data concerning Chinese road traffic and vehicle positioning, affecting both local companies and multinational firms such as Tesla. Following the news, the California-based electric vehicle—which has also been affected by a PR crisis over crash data—announced on May 26 that it would store all its data locally in a new data center in China.
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