In China, your car could be talking to the government

SHANGHAI (AP) — 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.

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.

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.

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.