NATO’s Stoltenberg: 5G security is crucial

Jens Stoltenberg at lectern (© Virginia Mayo/AP Images)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on October 23, 2019. (© Virginia Mayo/AP Images)

China’s advances in 5G wireless networks, facial recognition and other technologies pose a threat to NATO and world security, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned November 14.

Advanced technologies are coming from countries that are outside of the NATO alliance, most notably from China, Stoltenberg said in a speech at the NATO Industry Forum in Washington. He noted that China is able to gather vast amounts of data using facial recognition and other technologies “not only from China, but from around the world, including from NATO allied countries.”

“Technology is changing warfare, but also our societies,” Stoltenberg said, pointing to recent developments in 5G technology as an example. “The ‘Internet of Things,’ connecting the physical world to the internet, depends on 5G,” he said. “It provides enormous opportunities. But it can also make us more vulnerable. That is why ensuring the security of our 5G infrastructure is so crucial,” he said.

Last month, at the NATO defense ministers’ meeting, members agreed to update baseline requirements for civilian telecommunications, including 5G.

Stoltenberg also said allies will have to take into account the consequences of foreign ownership, control or direct investment.

“Much of our success is based on having a technological edge over our potential adversaries,” Stoltenberg said. “NATO remains vital for delivering trans-Atlantic security.”

In a speech in November, Michael Kratsios, the chief technology officer of the United States, said countries around the world need to come together to make sure emerging technology like 5G is developed in a way that promotes public trust, protects civil liberties, and respects the privacy and dignity of every individual.