5G Technology Poses Espionage Threat

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5G technology can be used for espionage purposes. According to David Vigneault, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), 5G can be used to target large companies and universities in order to get new information and technologies.

Targets are mostly dual-use technologies, having both civilian and possibly military or security purposes. “CSIS has seen a trend of state-sponsored espionage in fields that are crucial to Canada’s ability to build and sustain a prosperous, knowledge-based economy,” he said. “I’m talking about areas such as AI [artificial intelligence], quantum technology, 5G, biopharma and clean tech. In other words, the foundation of Canada’s future growth.” This according to theglobeandmail.com.

Mr. Vigneault said large corporations typically hold the most valuable information but they try to put in state-of-the-art cyber defenses, while Canadian universities are largely unaware how they are vulnerable to economic espionage and the threat of infiltration by unnamed state actors who would use their expertise to gain an edge in military technologies. This according to mobilesyrup.com.  

These comments come at a time when the head of U.K.’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, raised concerns of Huawei, the Chinese technology giant, being involved in the development of the country’s 5G infrastructure. 5G, the next iteration of mobile network technology, could potentially help cities become more connected to smart technology.

According to Alex Younger from the MI6, “We need to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken very definite positions”.

Echoing the words of spy chiefs in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, Mr. Younger said 5G technology – which offers faster download speeds – poses a greater national security threat than conventional mobile technology.

“With 4G there are specific modes of technology and we developed a very good understanding with Huawei of where we were able to monitor and look at that aspect of their offer,” Mr. Younger said. “That is impossible with 5G.”

The MI6 chief said the advent of 5G technology would make it more challenging to monitor Huawei technology, a task made especially difficult by China’s one-party state. “In China, they have a different legal and ethical framework,” Mr. Younger said. “They are able to use and manipulate data sets on a scale that we can only dream of.”

These concerns regarding 5G technology also come at a time when three members (New Zealand, Australia, U.S.) of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance have decided to ban Huawei from 5G networks.