China’s global moves to gain technological hegemony over 5G and reshape the Internet to suit its own needs offer the potential to give the Middle Kingdom control over the telecommunications market and information itself. At the very least, it would achieve market dominance. But at most, it would control both the nature of the Internet and the information that flows through it, say Internet experts.
Last of a multipart series.
The success of China’s foray into Internet control ultimately may be determined by the growth of the Internet itself, according to an Internet expert. While China seeks economic benefit from having its prime technology companies become the providers of choice for Internet customers, it also looks forward to being able to control Internet use outside of its borders. The ongoing evolution of the Internet, particularly its spread into a growing number of devices, may be China’s best asset for realizing its aims.
Third of a multipart series.
The seeds of future telecommunications are being planted in China. But the question remains, will they take root globally?
China’s cyber policy has both economic and political sides to it. On the economic side, flooding the global market with subsidized Chinese-made technologies offers the chance for major financial rewards as this equipment and its services become ubiquitous. On the political side, introducing Chinese standards to the Internet and cellular service will give the nation control over both services and data.
Second of a multipart series.
China’s high-technology communications and networking industries are proposing a host of future capabilities to come if vendors cast their lot with companies such as Huawei and ZTE. But these new technologies, once ensconced, would lead their users down a path closed to others and open to Chinese government control, say Internet experts.
First of a multipart series.
The next-generation Internet proposed by Huawei and supported by the Chinese government would provide a platform for revolutionary capabilities while implementing repressive measures that would eliminate today’s open communication. At worst, it would place control of Internet content in the hands of a few masters. But even if it does not subsume the entire Internet, it would cripple the interoperability that has characterized the network’s value as an economic growth engine by creating separate and unequal Internets.
The much-hyped 5G has begun to arrive, but in the United States, the truly transformative elements of these next-generation cellular networks are probably still four or five years off. Although improvements such as 100-times-faster speeds will enable more life-and-death type services, including remote surgery or self-driving cars, they also employ a more compromised hardware supply chain and offer a larger attack surface than current networks, federal officials warn.
“The anxiety from governments and regulators about the security issues [arising from 5G] and possible nation-state interference is at a fever pitch right now,” Robert Mayer, senior vice president for cybersecurity, USTelecom, says.