A US government expert called for a new data protection model for 5G, stressing the need to secure not just radio and core infrastructure, but also user data flowing through applications and across networks.
At the DC5G conference, Robert Spalding, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank and a special assistant to the US Air Force vice chief of staff, flagged data as a “strategic resource,” noting it is fuelling advances in AI and machine learning. But he added countries including China are leveraging the same information to wage propaganda campaigns.
“You can secure end-to-end your network, but as soon as that data leaves your network it goes to whoever has an ability to suck it out. And right now we have one major totalitarian regime that’s building the ability analyse all that data and use it for both influence and control.”
He added “the fact that our data model basically allows anybody to aggregate data, either a tech company or a totalitarian regime” and wield influence “not just at the country level but at the individual level” presents a challenge to protecting democratic ideals.
Spalding pointed to encryption as one key tool to protect user data. But Cisco chief engineer Michael Geller noted encryption reduces traffic visibility and makes it harder for operators to identify security threats in the network.
Geller agreed 5G will require an “operational and methodology change” in terms of security focus points, adding it will be critical to answer questions including “who owns the data model and who’s got the right to enforce the security aspects of that”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back