The Alliance for Securing Democracy’s Senior Fellow Kristine Berzina is out with a new report, 5G Security: The New Energy Security, in which she examines the strategic vulnerabilities that can come from European technological dependence on China.
Most EU member states are finalizing plans for building their 5G networks—technology that will overhaul the way their economies function—and making the critical decision between Huawei and other providers, including Ericcson and Nokia. As only a handful of companies around the globe can provide the equipment needed for 5G infrastructure, Kristine explains that Europe is at risk of locking itself into new technological and strategic dependencies with an authoritarian state: China. She writes that the natural gas relationship between Europe and Russia serves as a cautionary tale of what could come if Europe becomes dependent on China for 5G technology—although the risks this time around are higher, and Europe has significantly less time to address them.
Kristine offers policy solutions and recommendations for Europe to reduce its vulnerability in the 5G arena. Key recommendations from the report include:
- The EU should recommend, and member states should set, nuanced limits on Chinese companies’ and other high-risk vendors’ roles in the full supply chain for 5G networks and future smart infrastructure. These limits could be either blanket or partial bans in response to nuanced security assessments, and they should be paired with cybersecurity and media literacy educational curricula across the EU.
- The European Commission should improve mechanisms and provide finance support to promote cooperation on 5G security and smart technology at the EU, regional, and global levels. The Commission should follow the example of its energy security model and provide greater funding for regional and cross-border projects to bolster a common risk perception and security approach across EU member states.
- The EU and member states should address European companies’ concerns over unfair competition. The EU and member states should support European industry by investigating anti-competitive practices from authoritarian countries in a timely manner.
- The European public and private sector should watch out for hidden costs in setting up new technology. While low prices on new technology from Chinese firms may be appealing, the public and government should watch out for the hidden costs of this tech, including the costs of replacing infrastructure early if security flaws are found and higher costs for security management systems built on high-risk vendor equipment.
Read the report: https://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/5g-energy-security/
Please reach out to Rachael Dean Wilson or Kayla Goodson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in speaking to Kristine about the report.