As 5G enables ecosystems and data to traverse platforms, excitement comes with some hesitation around the potential privacy and security issues. Experts must figure out how to protect not just our mobiles but also IoT devices, security systems, vehicles, smart homes, and a variety of other smart devices, from being breached.

How we integrate this technology into our lives will set the framework around how data privacy and security need to be implemented e.g. using IoT smart locks on our doors creates different risks for the home and the consumer. This blog discusses the governance issues when disconnecting from wires and delivering communications services beyond basic connectivity.

The issue of security and data privacy is not new, but magnified with 5G IoT and platforms

Not only are the risks associated with data being shared and the privacy and security risks at a personal household level but there are increasing risks associated with Governments and businesses in protecting their critical infrastructure. If, a 5G network stopped, given the magnitude of its application in multiple industries, society and critical infrastructure is a risk: healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, emergency services, hospitals, cars and industry to name a few. Lives could be lost and our dependency on critical devices could provide risks to sectors, such as health and banking etc.

According to Will Cage, Global Head of Telco & Tech, Snowflake “the use of Data Clean Room capabilities enables new use cases that were not previously possible for the industry and ecosystem. Cross industry collaboration will provide new opportunities for CSPs & their strategic partners”

Data privacy issues are front and center

Among the highest profile consumer data privacy breaches is the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal which highlighted the potential challenges around privacy and the need for enhanced corporate governance. Companies that manage smart IoT 5G services need to consider protection of personal privacy, including access to location information, or leakage of personal voice, health and lifestyle data. Today, they are businesses that deliver secure services. Going forward businesses, partnering with companies to share data, need to ensure strong data and security policies are in place. There is a fine line between enabling new data models and protecting privacy of customers, KPMG believes that there is a need to enable trust within new data models, and the focus on areas such as ethics in AI and data will become of prime importance.

Striking the right balance between innovation and data privacy in 5G

Data privacy is a big issue and to date, the focus has been on what data is collected and how it is used. Data privacy laws will evolve to support the changing 5G services environment. A balance will have to be struck between what 5G can do and these data privacy regulations. Not enough openness to regulation will stifle innovation and too much openness will create risk. There is a fine line between enabling a country’s international competitiveness or losing out against other countries who are more open.

For example, health information can be transmitted over 5G networks to our physicians via a health cloud to unlock truly personalised healthcare, such as allowing earlier detection of serious conditions through remote analysis of vital signs collected by body-worn devices. how such information is used would require regulation.

When Government intervention could help

Government regulation [1] is needed to support sector innovation be it autonomous vehicles, health and manufacturing. If these networks are extended to enable payments, micro-insurance and health monitoring, regulation will need to evolve to keep up at pace. Governments need to set the ethical

and legal rules for machines to follow. Some Governments, including Germany have already started grappling with these challenges. Others are looking at more specific cases of sector overlap, for example, adding banking regulations into telecom regulations to enable interactions and exchanges

The magnitude of the challenge

Gartner [2] predicts that the 5G IoT endpoint devices will exponentially increase. By 2023, the 5G IoT endpoint installed base will approach 49 million units.

With 5G, everything is now going to be connected; it’s going to use huge amounts of data which will bring data privacy and data security concerns. The guidelines and laws need to be addressed and how they work across platforms, in the virtual Web 3.0 world will be key.

It will be critical for businesses to review their governance policies and explore ways to implement more real time compliance and governance systems. As companies look to join data within and outside their organization. These business level efforts and behaviours, in combination with government regulations, will help support and enable technologies such as 5G to be safe and secure.

As we enable 5G for individuals and enterprises we need to ensure we build trusted networks.

Keep an eye out for our next blog on the use cases we see coming on the 5G horizon.