The implications of 5G deployment for law enforcement


With a fragile cybersecurity base, the impact on crime and criminals could be severe

With a fragile cybersecurity base, the impact on crime and criminals could be severe

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced that India’s 5G rollout will start ahead of schedule. Reports suggest that the government will launch 5G during the inauguration of the India Mobile Congress on September 29. The long-awaited upgrade from 4G to 5G will enable super-fast internet speeds and seamless connectivity across the country compared to 4G. The implications of 5G rollout could be significant, especially for law enforcement in India.

Ensure the security

On the one hand, the rollout of 5G is expected to improve efficiency, productivity and security by helping police access critical information in real time and catch criminals. 5G has high bandwidth and low latency, so its adoption would ensure the best performance of police devices such as body cameras, facial recognition technology, automatic license plate recognition, drones and police devices. video surveillance. 5G promises to transmit clearer images. This will make it easier for police officers who nowadays often look at blurry images from devices and try to decipher them while working on cases. The increased storage capacity promised by 5G will allow police to streamline their investigative methods. 5G will also enable fast and secure communication within the organization as well as between civilians and emergency responders. With 5G, police can remotely access and analyze crime data and information from other infrastructure such as traffic lights.

But 5G adoption presents challenges. Government and telecom companies must first ensure that law enforcement has the infrastructure to take full advantage of all that 5G has to offer. Even though law enforcement has access to secure data from telecom carriers, they will still need tools to access that data. Also, most police systems are outdated and may not be compatible with 5G. To bridge this technology gap, the police must invest in modern tools, software and infrastructure. They need funds for that.

Cybersecurity concerns

As many have pointed out, there are also many concerns about 5G. The first is, of course, cybersecurity. Deploying 5G when we have a weak cybersecurity foundation is like building a structure on soft sand. As previous networks were hardware-based, India could practice cyber hygiene. But 5G is software-defined digital routing. This makes it vulnerable to cyber threats such as botnet attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) overloads. Furthermore, since 5G does not have end-to-end encryption, hackers can trace their attacks more precisely and perpetrate cybercrimes by hacking into systems or spreading illegal content. The bandwidth expansion due to 5G will allow criminals to easily hijack databases. Over time, as 5G connects to additional devices, the frequency of attacks could increase.

The impact that the rollout of 5G in India could have on crime and criminals is quite obvious and should be taken seriously. For example, someone could install a fake 5G tower on top of a public building and manipulate it to intercept private phone calls or send fake messages. Or he could steal someone’s phone, log into their 5G connection with an existing account, access the person’s data, or make purchases using the person’s credit card. Criminals could use 5G to conceal their activities or obscure their location. They could use 5G to quickly locate their victims, track their movements, and coordinate attacks through real-time communication with each other. There might be a lower likelihood of criminals getting caught when they commit identity theft or credit card fraud or steal information from computers, smartphones and tablets.

5G may also make it easier for criminals to commit acts of cyberbullying. Criminal groups may be able to coordinate DDoS attacks easily due to real-time communication capabilities between multiple criminal groups. They could also hack Internet of Things (IoT) devices and commit crimes remotely. For example, they could hack into a victim’s vehicle and cause an accident in order to collect insurance money, or hack into smart homes and smart cars to plunder personal information, or inflict physical crimes. Security patches of all IoT devices may eventually become necessary.

Terrorists could also benefit from 5G as the high speed would allow them to execute attacks faster and more accurately. With 5G, terrorists can plan attacks without having to physically travel or use phones, which could leave a trail for law enforcement to act on.

Fighting New Age Crimes

Therefore, authorities will need to adopt measures to prevent crimes facilitated by 5G technology. First, the police will need to be trained to recognize new crimes enabled by 5G. Second, training programs focused on these crimes must be developed. This includes identifying potential scenarios for new types of crime and preventing them. Third, the government and telecom companies could consider setting up a 5G crime monitoring task force to monitor and identify new crimes and develop countermeasures. Fourth, it is imperative to create regulations that criminalize the use of 5G technology to commit crimes. Such regulations could help prevent criminals from using stolen or counterfeit equipment since telecommunications companies will be able to track the location of the equipment and shut it down remotely. Fifth, regulations may also require telecommunications companies to allow police officers access to their equipment to track the location of victims and perpetrators of 5G-facilitated crimes for countermeasure purposes. These countermeasures can not only protect critical infrastructure, but also defend private citizens against cyberattacks using 5G technology. Finally, law enforcement will need to develop strategies to identify victims of 5G-facilitated crimes, locate them, and take action against perpetrators.

The deployment of 5G will be a game-changer for law enforcement. This will allow the police to fight crime effectively. At the same time, criminal use of 5G is inevitable. In this context, the recent recommendation by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to the government to develop a national roadmap for India to implement 5G in the best possible manner should encompass the requirements for of law enforcement.

K. Jayanth Murali is Director General of Police, IWCID. Views are personal


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