Volkswagen Pledges To Follow China’s Data Privacy Laws


Volkswagen will ensure that it fully complies with China’s stringent new data privacy rules, the carmaker said in a briefing on its first-half sales on Friday (July 16).

According to Bloomberg News, the rules in question have posed trouble for companies like the ride-hailing service Didi Global and Tencent Holding.

“Automakers are at risk of being caught up in China’s data security crackdown because electric and self-driving cars generate a treasure trove of data, including information about popular destinations and the routes taken to get there,” stated the Bloomberg report. “Already, Tesla Inc. cars have been banned from military sites because of concerns that their in-built cameras can collect sensitive data.”

The regulations are part of the Data Security Law, which goes into effect beginning in September and will make most data-related activities in China subject to government oversight. That means Big Tech companies like Tencent and Alibaba will have to make much of the data collected from eCommerce transactions, social media shares and other digital activities open to the government.

Volkswagen said it would pay close attention to the new regulations, “which are not only about electric vehicles, but also how we as a company have to deal with data protection for customers,” Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen China, said during the briefing.

The German automaker says it will shift its organizational structure to make sure it is complying with the regulations.

The company’s statement comes a little more than a month after information about 3.3 million Volkswagen customers and prospective buyers was compromised when an outside vendor left their data unsecured. This data included information such as email addresses, phone numbers and even Social Security numbers for customers of both Volkswagen and its brands, which include Audi, Porsche and Bentley. A company spokeswoman told PYMNTS at the time that a vast majority of the information related to Audi customers.