Pai: We Must See 5G Threats ‘Clearly’ And Act on Them

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told attendees of a Prague 5G Security Conference Thursday the United States believes issues that threaten a nation’s telecom network security need to be addressed upfront.

“Making the right choices when deployment is beginning is much easier than trying to correct mistakes once network construction and operation is well underway. Moreover, decisions that impact 5G security need to be made with the long term in mind. 

Focusing too heavily on short-term considerations could result in choices that are penny wise but pound foolish,” he said.

To protect the security and integrity of the telecom supply chain, the Commission proposed to ban the use of the broadband funding the agency administers to purchase equipment or services from any company that poses a national security threat to the integrity of U.S. communications networks or supply chain, Pai explained. 

In addition, the FCC will vote next week to reject China Mobile’s petition to provide international telecommunications services in the U.S. The decision comes after a lengthy Executive Branch review of the application and consultation with the U.S. intelligence community, “which concluded China Mobile posed substantial national security and law enforcement concerns that could not be adequately mitigated,” Pai said.

Similarly, when making decisions that impact 5G security, countries need to remember that its implications are wide-ranging. 5G will have a “transformational” effect on militaries, industries, critical infrastructure (from ports to electric grids), and entrepreneurs, noted Pai.

In the international realm, too, security cooperation will depend in part on secure 5G networks. “I will put it plainly: when it comes to 5G, we cannot afford to make risky choices and just hope for the best. We must see clearly the threats to the security of our networks and act to address them.”  Comments? Email Us.  

May 3, 2019

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