The next generation of mobile broadband, 5G, is emerging as a major area of competition between the United States and China. 5G technology promises vast improvements not only to the speed of commercial cellular connections, but also to governments’ intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Leadership in the development of 5G technology has thus been deemed critical to U.S. national security and global economic competitiveness.
5G competition is often judged by the number of patents in a given country’s standard essential patent (“SEP”) portfolio. This metric, David J. Kappos argues, is a misleading and unreliable guide to assessing the state of global 5G competition. Rather than focusing on the quantity of 5G patents in an SEP portfolio, it would be more useful to examine the quality of SEP portfolios. These assessments must be made by trained professionals capable of discerning the strength of each individual patent by comparing patent claims to the required specifications of the 5G standard. Developing reliably accurate assessments of SEP portfolios will be critical both for future 5G investment and for U.S. national security.
Most scholars who have tackled the internet “kill switch” subject come to a rather hasty conclusion that the President has the authority to shut down the internet under his emergency powers by invoking section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934 (codified as 47 U.S.C. § 606).
Over the years, this supposition has been debated on the fringes. Laura B. West’s article adds to that debate, brings it front and center, and argues that the current legal authorities are wholly inadequate to address the possible need to quarantine, isolate, or shutdown computers or portions of the internet or networks within the United States in a time of emergency caused by a massive cyber-attack.
Even if current domestic authorities can withstand the policy and legal scrutiny, the uncertainty and potency surrounding such authorities is surely enough to warrant new legislation that can provide “clear guidance and an enhanced ability to rapidly execute national level decisions for response options to sophisticated attack.” Accordingly, the time is now to rethink executive cyber emergency powers before there is a true need to build cyber walls.
Although acts of cybercrime and cyberwar are different, the lines between the two have been become blurred over time. The nature of cyberspace has complicated the pre-existing doctrine for armed attacks, yet they are still being applied. Furthermore, the United States historically has responded to malicious cyber activity through a militarized lens.
This tendency to lean towards and emphasize a militarized approach has displaced the domestic law enforcement approach and left it inadequately trained, inadequately resourced, and inadequately supported to identify, deter, and punish offenders. Discussions currently neglect other existing frameworks and the development of new ones to address malicious cyber activity
Without a comprehensive international legal framework governing malicious cyber activity, Mieke Eoyang and Chimène Keitner seek to encourage greater awareness of the consequences of viewing malicious cyber activity through only an armed conflict lens.