Predictions 2020 | Cybersecurity in a 5G world | What can telcos expect?


Spotlight on Predictions 2020 |

Greater Proactive User Data Privacy

The revenues and market caps of today’s tech giants are fueled by trading in user data. At the same time monster hacks in which millions of customer records are lost have become so commonplace they barely raise an eyebrow.

Of course legislation such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an attempt to redress this balance by hanging the Sword of Damocles over organisations that don’t tighten up cyber security.

In the US the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which will come into law in January 2020, is perhaps the most stringent and rivals GDPR in terms of the demands it makes on organisations.

It also goes further than GDPR and prevents companies from denying services to users who don’t want their data collected and monetized. Put simply, if you don’t agree to have your data collected you can’t use the service. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is also set to be followed by legislation in other states. Further regulation is also on the way globally.

The concept of data minimalism is also gaining ground. It’s a simple philosophy; collect only data which is necessary to provide products and services, be transparent about it, and be fair to those who wish to exchange their data with you. We’re already seeing the emergence of blockchain-based social networks such as which are basing their business model on rewarding users who agree to have their data shared.

In effect the use of personal data will eventually be integrated into the internet’s infrastructure. As such we’re set to see in 2020 the further growth of trends in which data privacy will be less reactive and more proactive, driven both by legislation and consumer frustration and anger at both loss and exploitation of their data.

However, it’s not going to be one-way traffic. For many of the most powerful and profitable companies in the world, we are the products, our data is their lifeblood and the services we use are designed to keep us hooked into handing over our data. So expect some intense behind-the scenes lobbying by tech giants and other corporations who want to hold onto our data. We may not be privy to the details but stories will leak, hinting about just what is happening behind the scenes, as consumer privacy concerns grow.

5G and cybersecurity

5G is set to be the most sweeping communication revolution we have ever experienced and will usher in an area of innovative new consumer services. Because 5G is a switch to mostly all-software networks, and upgrades will be like the current periodic upgrades to your smartphone, the cyber vulnerabilities of software poses potentially enormous security risks.

The big question is how the 5G network revolution and its attendant devices and applications will be secured? There’s already a lot of speculation and theories but it’s an unusual situation in that while 5G will ultimately define how we live our lives and fuel economies there are so many participants no one has ultimate responsibility for cybersecurity.

However, that said during 2020 responsibility for cybersecurity will begin to coagulate. We believe this will largely veer towards service providers who deliver the network, supported by governmental and industry security bodies working together.

We could also see the seeds of legislation and best practise guidelines for device and application providers to ensure their products have a cybersecurity seal of approval. In parallel with this we are also set to see a wider introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning to combat the threats, especially among the network providers. As such expect to see network providers unveiling plans for automation expanding across all layers of the security architecture.