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May 7, 2020

On May 6, 2020, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the Mutual Declaration on 5G Network Security that included the goals of working together to increase the security of future fifth generation networks; creating mechanisms for finding reliable and trustworthy suppliers of software and hardware; protecting communication networks from possible violations and manipulation; and especially to provide citizens with protection of their privacy and individual rights.

As both leaders said, future 5G networks will allow for unprecedented development of new services and technologies, but they will also offer services necessary for the operation of states and often for the protection of the lives and health of inhabitants.

The goal of the declaration is to build 5G networks together so they are protected from unauthorized access and possible attack while also providing citizens with protection of their privacy and basic rights.

“5G networks are not just a huge opportunity to develop and modernize the economy and society, but also a series of security challenges. 5G networks will be a global phenomenon, which is why the state has to cooperate with partners within the EU, NATO, and other organizations in assuring security. The signature of the Czech-US declaration will greatly contribute to this goal just like last year’s announcement of the Prague Proposals or the European 5G Security Toolbox, which the Czech Republic played a pivotal role preparing. I’m proud that thanks to the NÚKIB’s contribution, the Czech Republic is seen abroad as a significant and respected partner in the area of cybersecurity,” NÚKIB Director Karel Řehka said.

The declaration is an extension of a number of documents that were adopted at the European Union level. These include the 5G Security Toolbox, which was adopted by the EU at the beginning of this year and which the Czech Republic significantly contributed to. Another document is the Prague Proposals announced at the Prague 5G Security Conference that took place on May 2-3, 2019, in Prague under the auspices of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. These documents, just like the newly-signed declaration, emphasize the need to build and implement 5G networks based on free and fair competition, transparency, and the rule of law.

According to the declaration, the following is especially important to evaluate:

    Whether the supplier is not under excessive foreign influence without the opportunity for independent legal review;

    Whether the supplier has a transparent ownership structure, traceable commercial relationships, and a standard management structure;

    Whether the supplier commits to regularly innovating its products and whether it respects intellectual property rights;

    Whether the hardware and software supplier acts in accordance with ethical standards for corporate behaviour and whether they are part of a legal environment that demands corporations behave transparently.

Representatives of both countries also declared the process of selecting trustworthy suppliers will not only contribute to increased national security, but it is also an opportunity for the further development and innovation in the private sector. Both countries also expressed support for further discussions about the security of 5G networks within NATO.