Sen. Wyden Presses FCC to Secure 5G Nets

Add Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to the list of those expressing concern about 5G network security. It is a long list.

In a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, Wyden urged the FCC to protect next-gen wireless broadband networks against hackers, scam artists and foreign spies.

Wyden is recommending that the FCC "require all wireless carriers to implement improved cybersecurity measures – including upgrading encryption and authentication features – on 5G telephone networks," and to "mandate carriers provide consumers with adequate information to evaluate carriers’ cybersecurity efforts in order to make informed decisions."

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Wyden hammered wireless carriers, saying the FCC steps were necessary because "For decades, wireless carriers have ignored known cybersecurity vulnerabilities that foreign governments were and are still actively exploiting to target Americans.

He also suggested the FCC had allowed that alleged inaction. "The FCC must stop leaving the cybersecurity of American consumers, businesses and government agencies to wireless carriers," he said, "and finally secure America’s next-generation 5G networks against interception and hacking by criminals and foreign spies."

The FCC this month is scheduled to vote on an item that prohibits government broadband subsidy money from being spent on technology that could compromise those 5G networks, particularly from Chinese telecoms Huawei and ZTE, which the intelligence community has identified as potential threats to national security. 

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.