The 5G Revolution

August 2, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 28
Does the new wireless technology pose security risks?
By Kristin Jensen


5G, the fifth generation of cellular technology, promises to transform societies around the world by vastly expanding the number of devices connected in cyberspace and increasing the speed at which those devices communicate, experts say. But as the United States competes with China and other countries for dominance in developing 5G technology, new concerns are emerging about how to prevent cyberthieves and hostile foreign governments from stealing consumers' data or hacking and disabling critical infrastructure. Trump administration officials see Chinese technology giant Huawei, for example, as a potential security threat to 5G systems globally. The U.S. telecom industry and federal regulators promise 5G networks will be safe from cyberattack, but critics note that the administration already has repealed an Obama-era requirement designed to protect those networks. Other experts worry that the new technology — still years away for most Americans — will leave behind minority, low-income and rural customers, saying telecom companies will prioritize areas where they get the best return on 5G investments.

Experts say the rollout of 5G networks (Getty Images/Bloomberg/David Paul Morris)
Experts say the rollout of 5G networks will transform entire industries by increasing the number and variety of internet-connected devices, such as this Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, demonstrated at a Samsung event in San Francisco in February. (Getty Images/Bloomberg/David Paul Morris)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 02, 2019  The 5G Revolution
Oct. 12, 2012  Social Media and Politics
Mar. 16, 2001  Cell Phone Safety
Apr. 23, 1999  The Future of Telecommunications
Dec. 04, 1987  Broadcasting Deregulation
Dec. 16, 1983  Breaking Up AT&T
Feb. 04, 1983  Telecommunications in the Eighties
Sep. 27, 1961  Space Communications
Feb. 16, 1949  Telephone Monopoly
Mar. 23, 1944  Freedom of Communications
Feb. 15, 1930  Communications: Unification and Regulation
Consumer Behavior
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
General Social Trends
Internet and Social Media
Motor Vehicle Industry
Popular Culture
Telecommunications and Wireless Technologies