Tesla apparently will build a new data center in Shanghai by the end of June. The data center will be given the responsibility of handling the data collected from its EVs. Tesla’s China head of communications and government affairs Grace Tao has confirmed the news.

This move comes after the public scrutiny over the handling of private information collected by the company. The founder of Tesla, Elon Musk recently in a video conference has assured that the Tesla vehicles are never used for spying on any country. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) this month drafted a rough regulation that indicates that any data collected within the company must stay within the territory.  

Incidentally, this would not be the first time that China has taken steps to store user data on its own soil. This move goes as far back as 2017 when the Cybersecurity Law came into effect.

However, data gathered from vehicles tend to be more complicated than that of smartphones.

Charlie Dai, principal analyst at Forrester said, “It’s crucial to ensure appropriate local storage for vehicle data, as this will further drive ecosystem collaboration between international manufacturers and local partners.”  For China location data has always been sensitive. One such example would be when Coca-Cola came under the government’s scrutiny back in 2013 for equipping its delivery trucks with GPS. For the same country to have smart vehicles to send their collected data overseas would pose a few problems.

Moreover, smart cars also bring with them a problem regarding cybersecurity. More inclusion of technology and the internet to a car ensures more cybersecurity threats and attacks. The cybersecurity question not only endangers the entire transport and logistics systems but also endangers the lives of those using it. A few car manufacturers have paid the price for it, for example, Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles in 2015 after a pair of hackers showed they could remotely hijack a Jeep through its internet-connected entertainment system.