5G

EU-US Talks On 5G Network Infrastructure Is Good News For Consumers

Brussels, BE – Yesterday, the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial had a meeting in Brussels during which among other topics participants recognised that the deployment of 5G network infrastructure needs to be addressed as a matter of priority, as it might pose significant security risks.

The European Union and the United States committed to further pursue their exchanges on assessing and managing 5G and supply chain security risks through existing channels, including the Justice and Home Affairs meetings.

Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center, praised this development and said that it was an important step towards safeguarding consumer privacy in Europe and the U.S.

“Although, this is just the start, much more needs to be done to arrive at common smart regulations for 5G technology. Blunt instruments like total bans based on country of origin should be seen as measures of last resort. But the privacy of consumers and protecting them from vulnerabilities and backdoors needs to be paramount when rolling out 5G,” said Bertoletti.

“Using liability rules for operators and resellers of software and devices that expose consumers to the risk of malicious and illegal interference should be taken into account at the next meeting. Additionally, we believe that the U.S. should consider implementing the EU’s “Cybersecurity Act” into its legislation on 5G. Regulatory alignment is what will better serve the interests of consumers in the two biggest economies of the world.

“We hope to see more developments in the coming months on this issue and we encourage the two bodies to arrive at the next meeting in the second half of the year with a draft common policy to safeguard consumers’ privacy and at the same time boost innovation,” concludes Bertoletti.

The Consumer Choice Center published a policy note on Consumer Privacy in the Age of 5G that can be found here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

Consumer privacy must be priority

Nearly every day we hear of more major cases of identity theft, financial crime and other forms of attacks or malicious interference on the internet. Breaches become commonplace and lax standards leave consumers worried about how their information is safeguarded.

The colossal breaches at British Airways and Marriott and Starwood in 2018 compromised the private data of hundreds of millions customers, and dozens more cases have surfaced since.

Such incidents are evidence that consumer data security, and also consumer privacy, are not being taken seriously. The adoption of Internet of Things solutions and the highly anticipated rollout of very fast 5G networks will make consumers’ privacy even more vulnerable in the next few years.

President Trump’s executive order to prevent companies from buying hardware and software from telecommunications firms deemed a national security risk is at least one good step in protecting privacy, but it’s sad to see it had to come to that.

Trump is likely influenced by statements of FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who has warned against using telecom equipment vendors from China on the basis of both national security and concerns for privacy.

In one case last fall, it was reported that Chinese officials put immense pressure on specific private firms to include so-called backdoors in their software or devices, which may be exploited either by government agents alone or with a manufacturer’s help. That only provokes more questions as to the influence of the Chinese Community Party on the Chinese firms that sell abroad.

With that in mind, for the ordinary consumer looking to buy their next smartphone, laptop or WiFi router, how can they rest assured their privacy will be secured?

As a response to threats like this, Australia banned the Chinese network equipment manufacturer Huawei from its 5G network. The United States has effectively done the same. But blanket bans aren’t a silver bullet solution for safeguarding privacy and data security. A mix of solutions is needed.

What we need is a smart policy response that would induce companies to give sufficient weight to consumer data security, all the while achieving that goal without undue market distortions, wholesale bans of certain firms and the limiting of consumer choice.

Healthy competition between private enterprises is the best mechanism for the discovery of the right tools and applications for new tech gear. Keeping new regulation technology-neutral, and thus not deciding by law which technological solution is best, is a very good framework for consumer privacy.

The rules should be focused on outcomes and be as general as possible while still providing sufficient guidance. That means not just the biggest companies who can afford to comply will also have a chance.

At the same time, some kind of certification scheme, or even open source standard,  should be adopted to minimize the risk of any backdoors or other vulnerabilities. That said, perfect security cannot be guaranteed. But ensuring companies use encryption and secure methods of authentication should be on the table.

Ideally, there would also be more supply chain liability for telecommunications operators and infrastructure wholesalers. This would push companies to take consumer privacy and security more into account when making procurement decisions.

Outright bans motivated by security concerns have the same effects as trade restrictions in the context of a trade war. The first victim of any trade war are the consumers of the nation imposing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade. Unless there is no other workable solution and unless the evidence of a serious security risk is clear, we shouldn’t resort to bans.

The debate around 5G reminds us how vulnerable consumers are in a technologically and politically complex world.

Therefore, smart regulation is needed in order to protect consumers from data breaches and to prevent autocratic governments from spying on them.

By strengthening liability of companies for technological vulnerabilities and by creating good standards, both consumer choice and privacy can be ensured.

Blunt instruments like total bans based on country of origin or regulators picking the technological champions should be seen as measures of the last resort.

Read more here

Consumer privacy must be priority

Nearly every day we hear of more major cases of identity theft, financial crime and other forms of attacks or malicious interference on the internet. Breaches become commonplace and lax standards leave consumers worried about how their information is safeguarded.

The colossal breaches at British Airways and Marriott and Starwood in 2018 compromised the private data of hundreds of millions customers, and dozens more cases have surfaced since.

Such incidents are evidence that consumer data security, and also consumer privacy, are not being taken seriously. The adoption of Internet of Things solutions and the highly anticipated rollout of very fast 5G networks will make consumers’ privacy even more vulnerable in the next few years.

President Trump’s executive order to prevent companies from buying hardware and software from telecommunications firms deemed a national security risk is at least one good step in protecting privacy, but it’s sad to see it had to come to that.

Trump is likely influenced by statements of FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who has warned against using telecom equipment vendors from China on the basis of both national security and concerns for privacy.

In one case last fall, it was reported that Chinese officials put immense pressure on specific private firms to include so-called backdoors in their software or devices, which may be exploited either by government agents alone or with a manufacturer’s help. That only provokes more questions as to the influence of the Chinese Community Party on the Chinese firms that sell abroad.

With that in mind, for the ordinary consumer looking to buy their next smartphone, laptop or WiFi router, how can they rest assured their privacy will be secured?

As a response to threats like this, Australia banned the Chinese network equipment manufacturer Huawei from its 5G network. The United States has effectively done the same. But blanket bans aren’t a silver bullet solution for safeguarding privacy and data security. A mix of solutions is needed.

What we need is a smart policy response that would induce companies to give sufficient weight to consumer data security, all the while achieving that goal without undue market distortions, wholesale bans of certain firms and the limiting of consumer choice.

Healthy competition between private enterprises is the best mechanism for the discovery of the right tools and applications for new tech gear. Keeping new regulation technology-neutral, and thus not deciding by law which technological solution is best, is a very good framework for consumer privacy.

The rules should be focused on outcomes and be as general as possible while still providing sufficient guidance. That means not just the biggest companies who can afford to comply will also have a chance.

At the same time, some kind of certification scheme, or even open source standard,  should be adopted to minimize the risk of any backdoors or other vulnerabilities. That said, perfect security cannot be guaranteed. But ensuring companies use encryption and secure methods of authentication should be on the table.

Ideally, there would also be more supply chain liability for telecommunications operators and infrastructure wholesalers. This would push companies to take consumer privacy and security more into account when making procurement decisions.

Outright bans motivated by security concerns have the same effects as trade restrictions in the context of a trade war. The first victim of any trade war are the consumers of the nation imposing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade. Unless there is no other workable solution and unless the evidence of a serious security risk is clear, we shouldn’t resort to bans.

The debate around 5G reminds us how vulnerable consumers are in a technologically and politically complex world.

Therefore, smart regulation is needed in order to protect consumers from data breaches and to prevent autocratic governments from spying on them.

By strengthening liability of companies for technological vulnerabilities and by creating good standards, both consumer choice and privacy can be ensured.

Blunt instruments like total bans based on country of origin or regulators picking the technological champions should be seen as measures of the last resort.

Read more here

We Must Make Consumer Privacy a Priority

Nearly every day we hear of more major cases of identity theft, financial crime and other forms of attacks or malicious interference on the internet. Breaches become commonplace and lax standards leave consumers worried about how their information is safeguarded.

The colossal breaches at British Airways and Marriott and Starwood in 2018 compromised the private data of hundreds of millions customers, and dozens more cases have surfaced since.

Such incidents are evidence that consumer data security, and also consumer privacy, are not being taken seriously. The adoption of Internet of Things solutions and the highly anticipated rollout of very fast 5G networks will make consumers’ privacy even more vulnerable in the next few years.

President Trump’s executive order to prevent companies from buying hardware and software from telecommunications firms deemed a national security risk is at least one good step in protecting privacy, but it’s sad to see it had to come to that.

Trump is likely influenced by statements of FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who has warned against using telecom equipment vendors from China on the basis of both national security and concerns for privacy.

In one case last fall, it was reported that Chinese officials put immense pressure on specific private firms to include so-called backdoors in their software or devices, which may be exploited either by government agents alone or with a manufacturer’s help. That only provokes more questions as to the influence of the Chinese Community Party on the Chinese firms that sell abroad.

With that in mind, for the ordinary consumer looking to buy their next smartphone, laptop or WiFi router, how can they rest assured their privacy will be secured?

As a response to threats like this, Australia banned the Chinese network equipment manufacturer Huawei from its 5G network. The United States has effectively done the same. But blanket bans aren’t a silver bullet solution for safeguarding privacy and data security. A mix of solutions is needed.

What we need is a smart policy response that would induce companies to give sufficient weight to consumer data security, all the while achieving that goal without undue market distortions, wholesale bans of certain firms and the limiting of consumer choice.

Healthy competition between private enterprises is the best mechanism for the discovery of the right tools and applications for new tech gear. Keeping new regulation technology-neutral, and thus not deciding by law which technological solution is best, is a very good framework for consumer privacy.

The rules should be focused on outcomes and be as general as possible while still providing sufficient guidance. That means not just the biggest companies who can afford to comply will also have a chance.

At the same time, some kind of certification scheme, or even open source standard,  should be adopted to minimize the risk of any backdoors or other vulnerabilities. That said, perfect security cannot be guaranteed. But ensuring companies use encryption and secure methods of authentication should be on the table.

Ideally, there would also be more supply chain liability for telecommunications operators and infrastructure wholesalers. This would push companies to take consumer privacy and security more into account when making procurement decisions.

Outright bans motivated by security concerns have the same effects as trade restrictions in the context of a trade war. The first victim of any trade war are the consumers of the nation imposing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade. Unless there is no other workable solution and unless the evidence of a serious security risk is clear, we shouldn’t resort to bans.

The debate around 5G reminds us how vulnerable consumers are in a technologically and politically complex world.

Therefore, smart regulation is needed in order to protect consumers from data breaches and to prevent autocratic governments from spying on them.

By strengthening liability of companies for technological vulnerabilities and by creating good standards, both consumer choice and privacy can be ensured.

Blunt instruments like total bans based on country of origin or regulators picking the technological champions should be seen as measures of the last resort.

Read more here

Google & US chipmakers pull the plug on Huawei’s Android phones after Trump blacklist

“Outright bans by country of origin should only be the last resort for policy makers. Bans risk getting the global economy deeper into costly trade wars,” said Fred Roeder, managing director of the Consumer Choice Center.

The non-governmental organisation campaigns against restricting consumer choices by prohibitive laws and protectionist measures among others.

“Closed systems have a much higher likelihood of hiding vulnerabilities. Hence more open systems and open source approaches can really help consumers, and governments, trust the security promises of 5G providers,” he added.

Read more here

Google cuts off Huawei from Android ecosystem

Fred Roeder, managing director of the Consumer Choice Centre, a consumer activism group based in Arlington, Virginia, said that outright bans on technology equipment based on country of origin should only be a last resort for governments, and suggested open source might actually be a good route forward. “Bans risk getting the global economy deeper into costly trade wars. Consumers benefit from competition and the fast rollout of new technologies such as 5G networks,” he said.

“At the same time, we are worried about vulnerabilities and potential backdoors in equipment and software. Closed systems have a much higher likelihood of hiding vulnerabilities. Hence more open systems and open source approaches can really help consumers, and governments, trust the security promises of 5G providers,” added Roeder.

Read more here

5G and #Huawei – Trade wars can be prevented by using Open Source

While US President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday afternoon (15 May) effectively banning the use of Huawei’s products in 5G networks in the United States, the Consumer Choice Center (CCC) hopes for an alternative solution to improve consumer privacy in Europe.

Consumer Choice Center Managing Director Fred Roeder stressed that more openness and transparency of telephone and radio networks could lead to more trust in the soft- and hardware of infrastructure providers: “Outright bans by country of origin should only be the last resort for policy makers. Bans risk getting the global economy deeper into costly trade wars. Consumers benefit from competition and the fast rollout of new technologies such as 5G networks. At the same time, we are worried about vulnerabilities and potential backdoors in equipment and software. Closed systems have a much higher likelihood of hiding vulnerabilities. Hence more open systems and open source approaches can really help consumers, and governments, trust the security promises of 5G providers,” said Roeder.

“Private efforts such as the Open Radio Access Network Alliance show that open source systems are an option for telecommunication infrastructure. It would be a win-win situation for consumers and industry if more companies would embrace open standards. An open source approach in telecommunications could revolutionize market access and rollout pace of new standards in the era of 5G, in the same way as blockchain does in the financial services and payment industry. Manufacturers that commit to open source systems show that they don’t have any vulnerabilities to hide, and at the same time have a compelling case not to be excluded on the basis of their country of origin,” he added.

The Consumer Choice Center published a policy note on Consumer Privacy in the Age of 5G that can be found here.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more here.

Read more here

Im Kreuzfeuer: 5G, China, Sicherheit und Datenschutz

Schneller und billiger Rollout von 5G vs. Verbraucherschutz?

Nie war Mobilfunk so politisch wie heute. Während die EU-Kommission Vorschläge für ein abgestimmtes Vorgehen der EU zur Sicherheit von 5G-Netzen vorlegt, kritisiert das amerikanische Consumer Choice Center – nicht ohne Ironie -, dass man in der Datenschutzhochburg Europa bei 5G ausgerechnet auf Technologie aus einem Land (= China) setze, in dem der Datenschutz mit Füßen getreten werde.

Nach allerlei Winken mit dem sprichwörtlichen Zaunpfahl seitens der US-Regierung oder regierungsnaher Stellen setzt sich nun auch die liberale Lobbyorganisation Consumer Choice Center kritisch mit dem wachsenden Einfluss chinesischer Anbieter von Mobilfunktechnologie auf dem europäischen Markt auseinander.

Fred Roeder, ein studierter Ökonom, ist Managing Director des Consumer Choice Center in Arlington (Virginia).

Fred Roeder, ein studierter Ökonom, ist Managing Director des Consumer Choice Center in Arlington (Virginia). (Bild: Consumer Choice Center)

Für Fred Roeder, Geschäftsführer des Consumer Choice Center, sollte die Privatsphäre der Verbraucher in dieser Debatte an erster Stelle stehen. “5G bietet eine völlig neue Art der Konnektivität und verspricht enorme Vorteile für das Internet der Dinge. Dies wird begrüßt, aber gleichzeitig sollten sich die europäischen Verbraucher des potenziellen Gepäcks bewusst sein, das einige Infrastrukturanbieter mitbringen”, so Roeder.

“Während die EU eine der strengsten Datenschutzbestimmungen der Welt hat die DSGVO die Geschäftstätigkeit vieler gesetzestreuer Unternehmen in der EU erheblich erschwert hat, sollten wir uns Sorgen machen, dass Technologieunternehmen mit Sitz in Ländern ohne Rechtsstaatlichkeit ein potenzielles Datenschutzrisiko für Verbraucherdaten darstellen. Während ein schneller und billiger Rollout von 5G für einige ein großer Sprung nach vorne sein könnte, müssen wir sicherstellen, dass wir nicht in dunklere Zeiten zurückkehren, wenn es um den Datenschutz der Verbraucher in Europa geht”, erklärt Roeder.

Read more here

The Huawei Case: Backdoors, Telnet und ein Rauswurf

Anfang der Woche nährte eine Meldung der Nachrichtenagentur Bloomberg erneut Zweifel hinsichtlich der “Zuverlässigkeit” des chinesischen Netzwerkausrüsters Huawei. So hatte der Mobilfunkbetreiber Vodafone gegenüber der Nachrichtenagentur Bloomberg bestätigt, dass man in Italien bei Huawei-Technologie verdächtige Schwachstellen – sogenannte Backdoors – gefunden habe, die Unbefugten einen Zugang zum Festnetz des Carriers in Italien hätten ermöglichen können.

Diagnosefunktion nach der Entwicklung der Systeme nicht entfernt?

Diese “Schwachstellen” seien laut Vodafone bereits 2011 entdeckt worden. Nun rudert der Telekom-Konzern zurück und bemüht sich um eine technische Klarstellung. So handele es sich bei der Hintertür, auf die sich Bloomberg beziehe, um das Telnet-Protokoll, das von vielen Anbietern in der Industrie zur Durchführung von Diagnosefunktionen verwendet werde. Dieses wäre aber nicht über das Internet zugänglich gewesen, so Vodafone.

Einschätzungen der in USA beheimateten Lobbyorganisation Consumer Choice Center zufolge belegt der jüngste Vorfall Risiken für mögliche Verletzungen des Verbraucherschutzes und mache zugleich deutlich, dass die derzeitigen gesetzlichen Vorschriften zum Schutz der Privatsphäre der Verbraucher im Zeitalter der 5G-Technologien unzureichend sind.

Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager des Consumer Choice Center, sagte dazu: “Wir glauben nicht, dass das Verbot von Huawei-Technologie und der Beginn eines Handelskrieges mit China der richtige Weg ist. Vielmehr fordern wir, dass alle Gesetzgeber und Strafverfolgungsbehörden Maßnahmen ergreifen und Normen schaffen, die sich an der Sicherheitszertifizierung von Software und Geräten orientieren sollten (wie im “Cybersecurity Act” der EU vorgeschlagen). Wir sind der Meinung, dass eine starke Verschlüsselung und sichere Authentifizierungsmethoden ein wesentlicher Bestandteil der Bemühungen zum Schutz der Privatsphäre der Verbraucher sein sollten.”

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Huawei Vodafone backdoor renews demand for better privacy rules

CONTACT:
Luca Bertoletti
European Affairs Manager
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]
39 3451694519

Huawei Vodafone backdoor renews demand for better privacy rules

ROME – Today it was revealed that hidden backdoors were discovered in Huawei Equipment by the mobile provider Vodafone back in 2011. 

Vodafone identified hidden backdoors in the software that could have given Huawei unauthorized access to the carrier’s fixed-line network in Italy, reports Bloomberg.

The Consumer Choice Center says this intrusion highlights the risks for consumer privacy violations and demonstrates how current legal rules are insufficient in protecting consumers’ privacy in the age of 5G technologies. 

Luca Bertoletti, European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center, reacted to the news.

“This incident should signal to Italian law enforcement agencies the importance of Italian privacy rights and the seriousness of privacy intrusions from third parties. We invite legislators from all of Europe to press telco operators to take new steps to protect consumer privacy and take fast actions to prevent future breaches of internet networks.”

“We don’t believe that banning Huawei, and starting a trade war with China, is the right way to go. Rather, we demand that all legislative bodies and law enforcement actors take action and create standards that should be guided by security certification of software and devices (like proposed in the EU’s “Cybersecurity Act”). We believe that strong encryption and secure methods of authentication should be a significant part of the effort to safeguard consumer privacy,” concluded Bertoletti.

This particular topic ties into the CCC’s Consumer Privacy note, which was released this month.

***CCC European Affairs Manager Luca Bertoletti is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

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