A Tesla car is charging at a Tesla electric vehicle charging station in Beijing, China. Photo by VCG/Getty Images

Teslas and other electric vehicles in China constantly send information about the precise location of cars to the government, AP's Erika Kinetz reports.

Why it matters: The data adds "to the rich kit of surveillance tools available to the Chinese government as President Xi Jinping steps up the use of technology to track Chinese citizens."

  • "More than 200 manufacturers, including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and U.S.-listed electric vehicle start-up NIO, transmit position information and dozens of other data points to [Chinese] government-backed monitoring centers."
  • "Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge."

The responses: "The automakers say they are merely complying with local laws, which apply only to alternative energy vehicles."

  • "Chinese officials say the data is used for analytics to improve public safety, facilitate industrial development and infrastructure planning, and to prevent fraud in subsidy programs."
  • "But other countries that are major markets for electronic vehicles — the United States, Japan, across Europe — do not collect this kind of real-time data."

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