China broadens restrictions on driver data gathered by automakers – Automotive News Europe

China has broadened its crackdown on information gathered by automakers, as part of a wider campaign on how companies handle and protect user data.

Data shouldn’t be collected without a driver’s consent, and data that is collected should be processed onboard the vehicle, a statement Friday from five government offices said.

Additionally, built-in hardware like cameras and radar should only be precise enough to fulfill their functions, and all data collated should be as anonymous as possible.

The stricter rules come as China moves against its most powerful tech stars, including Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings and Didi Global in a bid to ensure its grip on society.

The government is also addressing consumer worries about the gradual erosion of their privacy as tech companies make rapid advances in the use of tools from facial recognition to big data.

The rules will take effect Oct. 1 and are aimed at reducing the “disorderly collection and illegal abuse” of data, the statement said.

They will apply to a wide range of automakers, component and software suppliers, dealers, maintenance and repair companies, and ride-hailing firms including Didi Global.

All crucial data should be stored locally and any important data that needs to be exported for business reasons must be approved by the Cyberspace Administration and other related departments under the State Council. The government will also conduct random investigations, as well as requiring companies to submit an annual report on data management.

Earlier this year, Beijing requested Tesla — the only wholly foreign-owned automaker in China — to store all data gathered by its cars locally, after the vehicles were banned from entering military compounds and some government areas on concerns their cameras could be used for spying.

The U.S. electric vehicle pioneer soon pledged to abide by the request and set up data centers in the nation. The company has posted a few new positions including data privacy lawyer and external relations managers earlier this week.

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