5G is speedy, but does it also raise the stakes on privacy, security, potential abuse?


Sure, the next generation of wireless will bring you faster phones, smarter tech and seamless services. But could 5G also make your privacy vulnerable?

While you often hear that 5G promises to eventually rev-up health care, self-driving cars, virtual reality, even entire “smart” cities, what you don’t hear quite as often is how it raises the stakes on privacy and security.

“5G implies faster speeds for good guys and for bad guys,” reminds Galina Datskovsky, CEO of Vaporstream, a secure messaging company in Chicago.

But before we let our fears and concerns move too far ahead of us, let’s take a step back. What does this really mean?

From the increasing use of artificial intelligence to connecting networks of devices at home to more secure ways to track transactions, “There’s a whole series of related technologies happening all at once,” says Mark Foster, senior vice president, IBM services and global business services. “Each has their own risks with regard to security, privacy and how they operate. In the end, it’s about the ethical operation of all this stuff.”

With the dramatic proliferation expected of network-connected 5G devices, “governments will need to test these systems carefully before they are deployed,” says Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “And end-to-end encryption for network traffic should be a priority.”