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Biden is worried China will use its cars to spy on Americans

A futuristic, silver sedan drives down a road in front of green trees.
The BYD Seal.


  • The Biden administration is initiating an investigation into foreign technology risks in American cars.
  • The investigation is primarily focused on automakers from "countries of concern" like China.
  • Chinese automaker BYD has denied plans for US expansion, but its global dominance is hard to ignore.

President Joe Biden is worried that China will use its cars to spy on Americans — and that the country could even remotely disable the cars' functions.

Biden announced in a statement Thursday his administration is launching an investigation into automakers from "countries of concern," naming China exclusively. The Secretary of Commerce will lead the charge to determine the risks of foreign technology in everyday Americans' cars, and to take action, if necessary, to protect national security, the statement said.

"These cars are connected to our phones, to navigation systems, to critical infrastructure, and to the companies that made them," Biden said in his statement. "Connected vehicles from China could collect sensitive data about our citizens and our infrastructure and send this data back to the People's Republic of China."

He added that China places guidelines on American cars operating in the country, so why would America not do the same?

One Chinese automaker emerging as a dominant force in the global car market is BYD, which unseated Tesla as the world's largest EV seller last year. China's success in the EV world comes as US sales of the cars slip.

But, BYD has said that it has no plans to come to the US, despite its international expansion into other countries, like Mexico, according to Yahoo! Finance.

"We're not planning to come to the US," Stella Li, executive vice president of BYD and CEO of BYD Americas, told Yahoo Finance Live. "It's an interesting market, but it is very complicated."

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters Wednesday that the investigation was designed to get ahead of the market — "before Chinese-manufactured vehicles become widespread" in the US.

"Imagine if there were thousands of Chinese vehicles on American roads that could be immediately disabled by somebody in Beijing," Raimondo said, per the Associated Press.

"It doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out how a foreign adversary like China with access to this sort of information at scale could pose a serious risk for national security and the privacy of US citizens," Raimondo added.

Read the original article on Business Insider