EU wants to make the 5G mobile standard more secure

The new 5G mobile communications standard is considered the key technology for building a digital society. The EU does not want to leave anything to chance. After all, the entire population could be spied on through cyber espionage. Correspondingly strict security measures should therefore be taken. This could also mean the end for Chinese manufacturers who are said to pass on data to the Chinese state.

The discussions about a secure 5G network do not stop. Recently, at the end of January 2020 the Handelsblatt reported that the United States had evidence that the Chinese provider Huawei is passing information on to the Chinese state apparatus. The Federal Foreign Office therefore came to the conclusion that Chinese companies lack the necessary trustworthiness when building the 5G network, the Handelsblatt reported. At the same time, Huawei repeatedly emphasizes that the group is independent in its decisions and would not forward any data to anyone.

This creates a very precarious situation for building a 5G infrastructure in Germany and all over Europe. Because if the company really provides information to the Chinese government, one of the world’s leading providers of 5G network infrastructure would have to be left out of the expansion in Europe. This could delay the expansion. In addition, there are already countries like Spain in which Huawei is already involved in the development.

Implementing measures

The federal government is now under pressure because the European Commission is simultaneously putting pressure on the development of the digital infrastructure. The politicians and officials in Brussels repeatedly emphasize the importance of 5G for the future development of Europe’s digital economy and society. However, this also means that security should play an overriding role and that every country in the European Union should introduce restrictions for risky providers if possible. In order for this to succeed, the EU Commission, in its communication of January 29, asked the member countries to implement the most important measures by April 30, 2020.

The paper goes on to say that the security requirements of mobile network operators must be tightened, among other things. There must be strict access controls, regulations for safe operation and safe monitoring. The risk profiles of the providers should also be assessed. If providers are associated with a relevant high risk, this can also be an exclusion criteria when it comes to important plants and facilities, such as core network functions or network management and coordination functions. Depending on interpretation, this could apply to Huawei.

To make sure that the influence of a single infrastructure provider does not become too large, the member countries should ensure that the operators have an appropriate manufacturer-neutral strategy. After all, there is not only Huawei. In Europe there are two other providers, Ericsson and Nokia, which have been dealing with 5G technology for years.

More articles on 5G in our blog:

5G risk assessment: threat from third countries

Successful lobbying for mobile standard 5G

First 5G networks are available

5G Cybersecurity: The EU is in a hurry 

WLAN technology preferred for autonomous driving

Ralf Johanning

Ralf Johanning studied political science and works as a freelance journalist. For over ten years now he reports on the transportation and logistics industry. The priorities include topics such as telematics, software, and ICT. In 2006 the trained editor, Head, and Press Officer founded the editorial office Alte Schule with his partner Ann-Christin Wimber.

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