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Jelle van Buuren and Dennis Broeders on 5G: Technological Dangers and European Chances

The 4G network will soon be replaced by 5G. 5G will enable users to set up faster and more reliable data links as well as better privacy protections. For intelligence agencies, however, the upgrade in data protections will create huge problems.

By transferring to 5G, the encryption of data links will be lifted to a higher level. 5G will enable surgeons, for instance, to perform long distance surgeries using one link while playing short films using another. Multiple links will be available for various purposes. Since by using 5G all data links will have better encryption, it will become more difficult for intelligence agencies to listen in on conversations. Sufficient reason for Europol to send a letter to the European Commission.  

Field of tension

Jelle van Buuren, Assistant Professor at Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs, believes Europol sending this letter to be a truly unique experience. There is a constant ongoing race between technique, privacy, and security, which is  why it very unusual for Europol to speak out like this, said Van Buuren on Dutch Radio 1. Usually, these deliberations take place behind closed doors. Apparently, they feel an urgent need to address the issue as soon as possible. In this dossier, the field  of tension between commercial interests, privacy, and security becomes really obvious but it appears that in this case the agencies are not at the table.

European Chances

Donald Trump’s government has chosen to block the rise of Huawei’s 5G network because of national security risks and various other reasons. This, in turn, offers opportunities for European companies to introduce safe alternatives  for Huawei’s 5G network.

Nokia sees opportunities to conquer the 5G market at the expense of Huawei. Only time will tell if Nokia will be able to give Huawei a run for their money. ‘It is up to the countries to decide which 5G networks to purchase’; says Niklas Lindroos, Nokia’s head of health, safety, security and environment for mobile networks.

Due to political reasons, smaller European countries are hesitant to turn against Huawei, despite Donald Trump’s government’s outspoken wishes to do so. The trade war between the US and China has, however, caused the focus in the debate on 5G to shift to security and the possible dangers of an European Huawei network. The US are dropping a lot of verbal bombs, says Dennis Broeders, Senior Fellow Cyber Norms Program at Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs in TrueViralNews. A lot of people are having second doubts because of these outspoken statements issued by Trump’s government.

You can read more on 5G in the articles on Radio1 (in Dutch) and TrueViralNews (in English).

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