- The new Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) that launched last week will examine 5G safety as well as other cyber threats, U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-ME, told reporters on a conference call Monday.
- The bipartisan, bicameral CSC that King chairs alongside Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-PA, will review the threats the United States faces in cyberspace and provide strategic guidance and policy recommendations. The CSC has 14 members including elected officials, members of the executive branch and business leaders, and was formed under the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
- "[5G has] got to be part of what we talk about, otherwise we're talking about history and not solving a problem in the future," King said. It expects to release a report by the end of the calendar year.
The security risks of 5G and devices connected through the internet of things (IoT) are more of a concern for elected officials, with the CSC another step towards trying to form a national strategy on risks.
In a similar vein, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced the "Secure 5G and Beyond Act" to call on the White House to develop a strategy to secure 5G telecommunications systems in the U.S. and allied nations. During the conference call, King noted some extreme ways that the still-developing 5G could be attacked if the US does not make sure it is secure.
"A simple example is autonomous vehicles (AVs)," he said. "If AVs are communicating with one another and using GPS function through 5G, then something that could manipulate 5G could cause a lot of automobile accidents. Your imagination sort of runs out of creativity when you think about what it's going to be like when things are so totally connected in the internet of things, which is certainly on its way."
The United States has three concerns as it attempts to fully deploy 5G technology before any other country. It must get out of the private sector’s way, ensure equitable coverage and first and foremost keep the technology secure.
King mentioned the potential threat of Chinese company Huawei, which along with compatriot ZTE has looked to provide 5G technology to some parts of America and other countries but has sparked major security worries over its close ties to the central government. King said President Trump's administration is "correct" to try and avoid dealings with the companies.
The security of 5G is part of a wider cyber strategy that the CSC will want to discuss. With growing cyber threats from around the world, and with Atlanta and Baltimore having suffered from crippling cyberattacks, there is a groundswell of support for cybersecurity at the highest levels of government.