Cantwell: 5G Security Means No U.S. Government Back Doors

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) used a hearing on 5G network security to hammer home that the U.S. needs to practice what it preaches.

Cantwell is ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee, which is looking into how to remove suspect Chinese tech from 5G networks and where to find the trusted tech to replace it.

Related: Senate Committee Vets 5G Security

But Cantwell framed the issue in terms of governments not having any back-doors into network tech, by which she meant any governments, including the U.S.

She said there needed to be global agreement and a unified voice against any government asking a company to provide encryption work-around.

She pointed out that she fought a past Democratic Administration on the "clipper chip," an encryption chip promoted by the National Security Agency that had a back door for law enforcement access.

She said she thought it was a bad idea that instead of saying "Intel inside," it would be U.S. government inside. She said "it didn't work them and shouldn't work today."

She said it was just unacceptable for any company to be asked by the government for an encryption back door, and that a global alliance should be able to come out against any such government demands.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.