Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


As the five times faster, twenty-five times more robust, 5G network becomes the global standard, behind China’s technological leadership in the space, telecommunications network security is of ever-increasing importance. Since 2016, researchers have observed as China Telecom, a government-controlled telecommunications company with a large global presence, hijacked Internet traffic directed towards financial institutions, government sites, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and news organizations. The hijacks, which go largely undetected by victims, are possible anywhere a malicious actor has access to the technology that directs information from one location to another across the Internet. As the United States and its allies evaluate options for sourcing 5G components and developing 5G infrastructure, domestic and international regulatory regimes must be adjusted to meet the risk. Access Reciprocity agreements, which could be adopted in parallel or as an addendum to existing regional trade agreements (RTAs), would be likely to offset the threat of government sponsored cyberattacks. That said, unless the U.S. and our allies put the same resources behind telecommunication innovation that our adversaries have, this approach could stunt the U.S.’s competitive edge in other sectors.