Senators Introduce 5G Security Bill for Next-Gen Networks

Senior U.S. senators proposed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act to guide the development of a domestic security strategy for next-gen networks. Senators John Cornyn, Richard Burr and Mark Warner, with co-sponsors Susan Collins, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Michael Bennet reached across the aisle to pen an act reflecting concern over the security of the U.S. telecommunications system. The act would prevent President Trump from recommending that 5G or other future telecom networks be nationalized, which his advisors recently proposed.

VentureBeat reports that “the Act would establish the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to lead a group that includes the FCC chair, Secretary of Homeland Security, Director of National Intelligence, Attorney General, and Secretary of Defense.” The Secure 5G and Beyond Act would also require the president’s domestic security strategy “to be developed across multiple agencies, including coordination with major U.S. government stakeholders.”

Trump’s advisors put forward a national 5G network as a way of streamlining construction that “will otherwise proceed under the timelines and directives of multiple wireless carriers.” South Korea recently “pushed domestic carriers to share one infrastructure for reasons of cost rather than security.”

According to Warner, “5G promises to usher in a new wave of innovations, products, and services [but] at the same time, the greater complexity, density, and speed of 5G networks relative to traditional communications networks will make securing these networks exponentially harder and more complex.” “It’s imperative that we have a coherent strategy, led by the president, to harness the advantages of 5G in a way that understands — and addresses — the risks,” he added.

The legislation also requires the president to “assist foreign allies in maximizing the security of their telecommunication networks.” The Trump administration has already been “actively involved in lobbying foreign governments to secure their 5G networks,” especially against “potential risks from Chinese government-backed communications equipment suppliers.”

This act could add “formal strategic incentives to strengthen allies’ networks against intrusion.” To pass, the Secure 5G and Beyond Act requires “full Senate, House, and presidential approval.” Because the federal government now prioritizes “regulatory and legislative actions relating to 5G, the bill has a better than average chance of advancing rapidly through Congress.”