5G and Data Privacy
5G is rolling out around the world and promises to provide seamless connectivity to support diverse innovations such as smart homes, driverless cars, industrial automation, 3D films and augmented reality. 5G will enable billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be deployed and a vast number of new applications to be conceived. These innovations have the potential to improve people’s lives, for example, by facilitating remote surgery or enabling a blind skier to ski without human assistance.
5G is not just faster mobile networks and it is not just a matter for telecom operators. As connectivity becomes increasingly fluid and flexible, 5G will change the types of service and business models that are possible in unpredictable ways; much in the same way as the sharing economy and apps have changed the way we interact with organisations, government and each other. The volume and granularity of traffic and location data generated during 5G communications will increase, organisations will be able to customise their virtual network requirements for specific use cases and an explosion of novel data-driven applications that leverage 5G could lead to a greater volume and variety of personal data usage.
While the current rules and guidance are sufficiently flexible, a more nuanced understanding of how 5G works will help anticipate and evaluate the range of circumstances that could influence risk. As new business models and uses of personal data begin to emerge, this paper explains some of the relevant features of 5G to help industry, authorities and consumer groups to explore the data privacy aspects of the evolving 5G landscape.