Press Advisories

2. 5. 2019 11:06

PM Babiš: By protecting the 5G network, we will be protecting the very fabric of our societies, our ability to thrive, even to exist

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at the Prague 5G Security Conference held at the Czernin Palace on May 2 2019.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at the Prague 5G Security Conference held at the Czernin Palace on May 2 2019.
Opening remarks by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at the Prague 5G Security Conference held at the Czernin Palace on May 2 2019.

I am very pleased to welcome you at the Prague 5G Security Conference.

Nexus between communication & technology and the way it impacts our lives

Your gathering today deals with two important issues: communication and technology, their interdependency and security. This is very timely.

Communication is the cornerstone of our societies. It defines almost every aspect of our lives. It defines the way we perceive and understand each other. Whether we communicate face to face or by using social media platforms. This applies equally to all of us, our countries, businesses, citizens.

Over the past several years, we have seen an exponential growth in communication technologies and systems. And this trend will continue with the development and deployment of the fifth generation of networks, 5G, which will transform fundamentally the way we communicate and the way we live.

5G will change everything

Transportation, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, health, defense and other sectors will be significantly enhanced and altered through this next generation network. High-speed technology is expected to bring about a true digital evolution, stimulating economic growth, innovation and well-being. The change will be bigger than the introduction of mobile phones.

5G will change entire industries. Those sectors will be fully transformed by digital highways of communication, unprecedented computational power and networks of sensors. Sensors around us will collect data and feed them to new digital ecosystems. Whole industries will robotize their manufacturing processes to ensure competitiveness on the market. Large scale automation will be dependent on functioning and secure 5G networks. Individuals and machines will interact and share information in a way unseen in the history of humankind. There will not be much human activity, that is not underpinned by cyber infrastructure.

With 5G, our vulnerabilities will grow

But this rapid development and scale of use of communication technology will ultimately escalate our dependency and vulnerabilities. Citizens as well as private sector, will become increasingly dependent on online services provided by the government or municipalities. Today, malicious actors operate in cyber space, with the intention to undermine cohesion of our societies and paralyze the proper functioning of states or businesses. This includes attempts to control or disrupt the channels of communication and information transmitted over these channels. In digitalized, democratic societies, disruption of networks in general and 5G in particular can have serious national security consequences.

If the integrity or availability of data, the channels for transmission, the connectivity itself would be compromised we would face blackouts, shortages in supplies of drinkable water, disruptions of basic services and government functions, including police and military functions. Compromise of networks could paralyze entire industry production and result in heavy economic losses. Delivery of goods and traffic flows could be at risk. Without trusted networks, the evolution of e-government is destined to fail.

Today, we already protect our networks from espionage, cyber-crime or intrusion of industrial control systems. This will change with 5G. By protecting the 5G network, we will be protecting the very fabric of our societies, our ability to thrive, even to exist.

What are the next steps: increase awareness, change the way we cooperate and prepare for the future

So where do we go from here?

First, we need to raise the awareness of the complexity of cyber security and 5G among political leaders, experts and also wider public. We need to change the way we think about security and cyber. To understand that security of 5G is not just about cell phones or several companies. Cyber security requires the whole of government approach that connects policy, technology, economy and resilience of both infrastructure and society. And I believe this conference and the Prague Principles underline this point quite clearly.

Second, we need to change the way we cooperate on cyber security. This is why we decided to take the lead in efforts to facilitate the discussion on 5G and organize this conference - to foster dialogue, exchange lessons learned promote the shared interest of the EU members, NATO allies and global community.

For us, it is paramount to find solutions fitting the EU and NATO. We are fully committed to address cyber security concerns related to the 5G, in line, with the recent recommendation by the European Commission. But our discussion has to be wider. 5G is a global undertaking, and I am glad to welcome global partners of the EU and NATO and all our dear colleagues and friends from other countries participating in this conference.

Our cooperation should result in a comprehensive framework for the assessment, mitigation and management of risk to future 5G networks.

Third and finally, we need to prepare ourselves for the future by accelerating digitalization. For the next couple of years, the 5G networks will rely heavily on the existing infrastructure and the fourth generation of networks. In the case of the Czech Republic, I expect that spectrum for 5G will be awarded and divided among the carriers in 2020 after the auction in November 2019. These carriers will have until 2024 to roll out 5G for commercial use, also building on lessons learned in other countries.

5G roll out will not happen overnight, but it is the first important step towards increasing the share of digital economy on our national GDP.

Speed of 5G is critical, but security must come first

Ladies and gentlemen,

I recently presented the Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic for the next decade. This strategy completely changes the priorities of the Czech Republic and focuses on the extraordinary support of research and development, digitalization, supports polytechnic education and is the basis for building infrastructure supporting advanced and new technologies.
Our goal is to become the European leader in innovation by 2030. To become the Country for the Future.

Many of your nations have a similar vision. And that is why I am glad that your meeting today recognizes the strategic significance of 5G – not just in its declaration, but also by proposing practical cooperation and voluntary measures.

The speed of 5G deployment will be critical. Those who will move fast and adopt the technology early will have a major advantage. But we need to get 5G right and show responsibility to our citizens and companies alike. 5G is not a one-time business competition. It is a process, where cyber security must be a priority from the outset. The risk of future potential disruptions is too great.

For all these reasons, I am very glad to endorse the Prague Principles on cyber security of telecommunication networks in a globally digitalized world.

I wish you successful conference

Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

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