President Trump’s decision to blacklist Huawei has thrust next-generation 5G data communications suddenly into the media spotlight. The Chinese telecommunications giant currently leads the world in 5G equipment manufacturing. By the mid-2020s, this nascent technology is expected to be the driving force behind the next wave in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. But first, there are one or two important data privacy questions to address. First, China’s reputation as a surveillance state is causing Western leaders to have serious misgivings about Huawei’s devices. Second, 5G will make it possible for intelligent M2M communications devices to make everyday decisions for people. For business, this means exciting new revenue opportunities. Human lives will become ever more dependent on machines. Equally, there will be many more ways for personal privacy to be breached. If this is to be avoided the IT industry has to ensure security is built into 5G devices by design, with the privacy element provided by encryption. Virtual Private Network (VPN) software will undoubtedly form a core element of any robust and secure 5G communications infrastructure.
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