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Mar 30

/ nic.at News - 30.03.2020 11:54
5G panel discussion: "The free market cannot regulate everything"

The launch of the new 5G mobile phone technology raises questions about data protection. At a panel discussion at Domain pulse in Innsbruck, experts discussed the opportunities and dangers.

The expansion of 5G, the fifth generation of mobile communications, is imminent. Telecommunications and broadband internet are supporting pillars of our information society. Loading times are decreasing, streaming and communication between devices are becoming optimised, but the risk of data leaks is also increasing. 5G as a challenge for society was therefore the topic of the discussion round "Civil rights versus surveillance: Where are we going?" in Innsbruck. Christof Tschohl, from the Vienna Research Institute Digital-Human-Rights-Center, emphasized the importance of data protection: "It is a fundamental right and therefore a state duty to ensure it. The free market cannot regulate everything". For the data protector, human rights are the legal anchor and common denominator. He called for more interdisciplinary cooperation in order to assess the consequences of the technology.

Damage in the real world
Erhard Friessnik, Head of the Cybercrime Competence Center at the Bundeskriminalamt, responded: "Authorities must also use new technologies, but they are reaching their limits with regard to end-to-end encryption." Crime may be shifting to the digital world, but the damage is in the real world. It is the task of the state to ensure security and order. "Does society really want a lawless digital space?" Friessnik asked the audience in Innsbruck. "5G is developing, but the state must also develop." Investigating authorities do not operate like Google. "We only collect data in cases where there are definite culprits."

Intelligence agencies demand access
Jan-Peter Kleinhans of the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin described the conflict between goals: "Public security is guaranteed by the state's access rights to the network infrastructure, but IT security does not trust the network and wants to protect data as well as possible." According to Kleinhans, security services want broad access to mobile networks. Predetermined breaking points in the network should therefore be available. "The Federal Network Agency aims to make the networks as secure as possible." There will always be a conflict of goals between public security and IT security. One would have to accept that. "The right of a state to access the mobile network will always compromise security." Kleinhans cited the Huawei company as an example: "According to intelligence information, Huawei was able to access networks via interfaces actually intended for security authorities."

High potential
The new technologies around Smart cities or the Internet of Things bring new challenges, according to data protection expert Christof Tschohl: "5G does not in itself imply completely new tasks and hurdles for network management. But the high potential of this technology, such as Smart cities or the Internet of Things, does." Jan-Peter Kleinhans insisted on an open discourse and cooperation in Europe: "The pitfalls in Europe can be seen in the basic data protection regulation. One point is a lack of assertiveness. Once the decision is in place and the member states implement it, things will become heterogeneous." In the case of 5G, it is therefore necessary to talk about scalable regulatory approaches. Because one thing is certain: "After 5G will come 6G."


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