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23 Apr, 2019 22:57

‘Race we must win’: US spies desperate to beat China on 5G

‘Race we must win’: US spies desperate to beat China on 5G

The US intelligence community is pushing for American dominance of 5G technology, citing “national security” implications if China gets there first. President Donald Trump has said US “cannot allow” such a thing to happen.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) tweeted out a reminder on Tuesday that if the US doesn’t step up the pace of 5G development right away, China will “own” the global 5G apparatus within just a few years.

“If we don’t deal with this now, 10 years from now it’s going to be too late,” Bill Evanina, director of ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said at a conference last week. “Three years from now, it’s going to be too late.”

Government officials at the April 16 INSA Spring Symposium were particularly worried about the risks of disruption, espionage and compromise of the Internet of Things (IoT), widely considered one of the major features that 5G technology would enable.

Four days prior, Trump had announced a major auction of the 5G spectrum, and said he “cannot allow” any country to out-compete the US in what he called the “industry of the future.”

“The race to 5G is the race America must win…. It’s the race that we will win,” the president said, adding that 5G networks “have to be guarded from the enemy. We have a lot of enemies out there.”

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Chief executive officer of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei has bemoaned this kind of approach by Washington, saying that the US regarded the technology as “a kind of nuclear bomb.”

“Unfortunately, the US sees 5G technology as a strategic weapon,” Ren Zhengfei told the German Wirtschaftswoche and Handelsblatt newspapers last week.

The US has accused Huawei of “spying,” demanded of allies to stop doing business with the Chinese tech company, and charged its CFO Meng Wanzhou with violating US sanctions against Iran. Meng was arrested in Canada and is currently awaiting her extradition hearing.

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