Speaking on The Hill TV’s Rising on May 20, 2019, former counterintelligence official Nate Snyder stressed the urgency of addressing the security risks associated with emerging 5G technology. While the promise of faster speeds sparks excitement among consumers, it also prompts privacy concerns as well as consideration of how bad actors may exploit these gains. Snyder notes that malicious actors will always search for vulnerabilities within our systems. In this case, the greatest vulnerability stems from the debated presence of Chinese-owned and -operated Huawei components in our 5G infrastructure. In this scenario, US intelligence agencies face a serious risk of relying on faulty information when performing critical investigations.
While the President’s executive order banning state-controlled companies from contributing to US communications infrastructure was a good start, Snyder says, “it’s going to take drastic action” for the US to break into the competitive market that China has strived to dominate. It is through public-private partnerships that the US will be able to assume leadership in the upcoming 5G revolution. Furthermore, the United States should lead the fight for shared principles and ensure competition and interoperability among technology vendors. By approaching this challenge from an economic standpoint, the US stands to unlock the power of competition while also ensuring that security remains a top priority as we prepare for the 5G rollout to the masses.