Government takes first step towards protecting telecom networks and 5G

Good, fast and secure internet is essential for Dutch economy and business. The government wants to maintain the strong position of the Netherlands as a digital frontrunner within the European Union. At the same time, recent annual reports of the services and the Cybersecurity Assessment Netherlands of the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) reveal that there is a permanent threat of espionage and sabotage by foreign countries. Recently, these concerns have been expressed more specifically in connection with the rollout of 5G. In view of this threat, the Economic Security Task Force led by the NCTV has issued an advisory opinion on this issue. Today, the Minister of Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus and the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Mona Keijzer will send the House of Representatives their proposed approach to ensuring the security of the current and future 5G network.

The current networks have been identified as essential process elements and hence the continuity and availability of these networks are crucial for our business and society. Based on the Taskforce’s risk analysis, telecom providers will be required to take additional security measures to increase resilience to the threat from other countries. One of these measures is to impose stricter requirements than normal on suppliers of services and products in the critical parts of the telecom network. This will help further diminish the vulnerability for abuse. The necessary tightening of the networks will be laid down in an order in council to be published this autumn.

European cooperation is also essential for strengthening the security of the 5G network, as is taking the necessary measures. Therefore, the government supports a joint European approach. This could include international legislation, coalition formation or the development of international norms and standards.

The Task Force has also determined that a structural approach is necessary because with respect to threat assessment, continuous developments are taking place and technological developments are occurring at lightning speed within the telecom sector. A structural process will be set up in cooperation with the telecom providers, which will take into account the business economic aspects to the maximum extent possible, insofar as this does not affect national security.