The U.S. State Department, which is hoping to slow the spread of 5G networks using hardware from China, said it supports a plan from the European Union Council that highlighted the risks to 5G networks if they are built from certain companies, according to a Dec. 4 statement.

“We look forward to the release of the EU’s 5G risk mitigation toolbox later this month," the State Department said in a release. "We hope its recommendations will include strong measures to address the risks identified in today’s statement and in the EU’s Risk Assessment published in October 2019. The United States urges all countries, including our partners and allies, to adopt national security policies that would prevent untrusted vendors from accessing any part of their future 5G networks.”

The State Department also suggested European partners and allies “ensure only trusted vendors participate in any part of their future 5G networks.” Moreover, the State Department noted “[t]he stakes are too high” to allow important networks to be run by vendors subject to authoritarian regimes. The statement specifically called out Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, saying they must comply with directives from the central government.

“Allowing these vendors anywhere in a country’s 5G networks would present critical risks to the privacy, human rights, and security of its citizens,” the statement read.

Beyond the European Union, NATO also recently affirmed the importance networks and telecommunications technologies, including 5G, will play in the national security debate in the future.

“NATO and Allies, within their respective authority, are committed to ensuring the security of our communications, including 5G, recognising the need to rely on secure and resilient systems,” a communique from London on Dec. 4 read.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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