The Associated Press has found global automakers feed real-time information about electric vehicles to monitoring centers backed by the Chinese government, often without car owners’ knowledge.

In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, Ding Xiaohua, deputy director of the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center sits near a data display screen in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car's sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like the one Ding oversees in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, Ding Xiaohua, deputy director of the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center sits near a data display screen in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car’s sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like the one Ding oversees in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, Ding Xiaohua, deputy director of the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center speaks near a data display screen in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car's sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like the one Ding oversees in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, Ding Xiaohua, deputy director of the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center speaks near a data display screen in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car’s sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like the one Ding oversees in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, a staff member looks at a laptop near a screen displaying live data from vehicles at the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car's sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like this one in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, a staff member looks at a laptop near a screen displaying live data from vehicles at the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car’s sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like this one in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo,  a dialog box shows details of a vehicle from amongst thousands tracked and displayed at the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car's sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like this one in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, a dialog box shows details of a vehicle from amongst thousands tracked and displayed at the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car’s sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like this one in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Already more than 220,000 vehicles are monitored in Shanghai alone. Nationally more than 1.1 million are. Among dozens of shared data points is a constant stream of location information, which could reveal where people live, work, shop and pray.

In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, photo, Volkswagen Group China chief executive Jochem Heizmann reacts during an interview in Beijing. 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, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners' knowledge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, photo, Volkswagen Group China chief executive Jochem Heizmann reacts during an interview in Beijing. 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, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, Volkswagen Group China chief executive Jochem Heizmann walks out for an interview in Beijing. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners' knowledge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, Volkswagen Group China chief executive Jochem Heizmann walks out for an interview in Beijing. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, photo, Jose Munoz, the head of Nissan's China operations speaks during an interview in Shanghai, China. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners' knowledge. (AP Photo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, photo, Jose Munoz, the head of Nissan’s China operations speaks during an interview in Shanghai, China. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. (AP Photo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, photo, Jose Munoz, the head of Nissan's China operations speaks during an interview in Shanghai, China. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners' knowledge. (AP Photo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, photo, Jose Munoz, the head of Nissan’s China operations speaks during an interview in Shanghai, China. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. (AP Photo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, photo, An Baojia, right, makes a phone call near his Tesla vehicle at a charging station in Shanghai. 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, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners' knowledge. (AP Photo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, photo, An Baojia, right, makes a phone call near his Tesla vehicle at a charging station in Shanghai. 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, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. (AP Photo)

Critics say data sharing could undermine automakers’ competitive position and be used to further state surveillance as the ruling Communist Party steps up its use of technology to monitor citizens.

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2018, file photo, a cameraman takes video of a Nissan Sylphy Zero Emission, the Nissan's first all-electric vehicle built in China, at the Nissan factory in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners' knowledge. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)
FILE – In this Aug. 27, 2018, file photo, a cameraman takes video of a Nissan Sylphy Zero Emission, the Nissan’s first all-electric vehicle built in China, at the Nissan factory in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)
FILE - In this April 14, 2017, file photo, a security guard moves past Tesla electric vehicle charging station in Beijing. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners' knowledge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
FILE – In this April 14, 2017, file photo, a security guard moves past Tesla electric vehicle charging station in Beijing. 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 government-backed monitoring centers, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, Ding Xiaohua, deputy director of the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center speaks near a data display screen in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car's sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like the one Ding oversees in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, June 22, 2018, photo, Ding Xiaohua, deputy director of the Shanghai Electric Vehicle Public Data Collecting, Monitoring and Research Center speaks near a data display screen in Shanghai. According to specifications published in 2016, every electric vehicle in China transmits data from the car’s sensors back to the manufacturer. From there, automakers send 61 data points, including location and details about battery and engine function to local centers like the one Ding oversees in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, photo, Volkswagen Group China chief executive Jochem Heizmann speaks during an interview in Beijing. 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, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners' knowledge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
In this Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, photo, Volkswagen Group China chief executive Jochem Heizmann speaks during an interview in Beijing. 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, The Associated Press has found. Generally, it happens without car owners’ knowledge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The rules apply to all new energy vehicle makers. Chinese officials say the system aims to protect public safety and facilitate industrial and infrastructure development, and that confidentiality agreements protect carmakers’ intellectual property.

Source: The Associated Press

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