European Union Identifies Risks to 5G Networks


Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

On December 3, the European Union (EU) Council identified serious risks posed to 5G telecommunications networks if they are built using untrusted vendors. We welcome this acknowledgement and urge our European partners and allies to ensure only trusted vendors participate in any part of their future 5G networks.

The set of conclusions published yesterday affirmed that “non-technical factors such as the legal and policy framework to which suppliers may be subject to in third countries, should be considered.” We look forward to the release of the EU’s 5G risk mitigation toolbox later this month. We hope its recommendations will include strong measures to address the risks identified in today’s statement and in the EU’s Risk Assessment published in October 2019.

5G networks will form the backbone of future economies and critical infrastructure. The stakes are too high to allow these vital networks to be provided and serviced by vendors open to manipulation by authoritarian regimes. Chinese telecommunications firms such as Huawei and ZTE must comply with the directives of the government of the People’s Republic of China, without any meaningful checks and balances that would prevent misuse of data. Allowing these vendors anywhere in a country’s 5G networks would present critical risks to the privacy, human rights, and security of its citizens.

The United States urges all countries, including our partners and allies, to adopt national security policies that would prevent untrusted vendors from accessing any part of their future 5G networks.