BEIJING -- China's new rules on the handling of automotive data will take effect Oct. 1 and build a barrier against foreign companies from accessing driving records and onboard images, a move that will hamper their own efforts to advance self-driving technology.
Draft rules based on the nation's new slew of legislation governing data, were first published in May, with the implementation date announced Friday. The regulations are aimed at preventing vast amounts of personal data generated in China, the world's largest auto market, from being leaked beyond its borders.
The rules will be based on the country's 2017 cybersecurity law, as well as its sweeping Data Security Law, which is set to take effect on Sept.1. The legislation sets the rules on how companies can handle digital data and grants authorities greater oversight in collecting and safeguarding data.
The new rules will apply to a wide range of businesses, including automakers, auto parts makers, software companies, car dealers, as well as ride-hailing services.
"Normally, we would like to make effective use of data we collect around the world in order to accelerate the development of autonomous driving technology, but that will become difficult. We have no choice but to utilize data collected in China for only China," a senior executive at a foreign automaker's Chinese subsidiary told Nikkei.
Data that poses a potential risk to national security must be stored domestically and undergo inspection before it can be transferred overseas. It also requires companies that want to transfer data abroad to report on the type and size of data, as well as its purpose.
Companies will have to disclose the locations where they plan to store the data. Authorities have stated that sensitive data will include anything from Chinese road traffic and logistics information to facial recognition data, videos and photos taken by onboard cameras, as well as operational data on charging stations for electric vehicles.
Data sets that include personal information of more than 100,000 individuals, as well as information related to geographical data on the Communist Party and its military facilities or the movements of their personnel also fall under the security guidelines.
President Xi Jinping is on a mission to strengthen the management of state-controlled data. China's Data Security law, cybersecurity law and Personal Information Protection Law will serve as the three pillars aimed at protecting data privacy and information security.
This year, Chinese media reported that electric maker Tesla is suspected of transferring vehicle data from China to the U.S. Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Global, which went public on the New York Stock Exchange in June, has also been subjected to criticism that it could provide the U.S. with data collected in China.