The implications of the 5G roll-out for law enforcement

Source: The post is based on an article “The implications of the 5G roll-out for law enforcement” published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

Syllabus: GS-3, Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology

News: In the recent past, the Prime Minister of India announced that 5G deployment in India will commence sooner than expected. As per some reports, there are expectations that the government may launch 5G at the inauguration of the India Mobile Congress on September 29.

Importance of 5G Network from the angle of law enforcement in India

(A) Ensuring security

(1) The police can have faster access to critical information in real-time, and it would be able to nab criminals. This is because the 5G has high bandwidth and will allow ultra-fast Internet speeds with low latency. The police devices such as body cams, facial recognition technology, automatic number-plate recognition, drones, and CCTVs, working on the 5G network would perform better.

(2) The increased storage capacity promised by 5G will allow the police to streamline their investigation methods.

(3) 5G will also allow rapid and secure communication within the organization as well as between civilians and emergency responders.

What are the challenges in the adoption of the 5G network?

(A) Most police systems in India are outdated and do not have infrastructure that is compatible with 5G.

(B) Cybersecurity concerns

(1) India has a poor cybersecurity foundation. For example, India’s previous networks were hardware-based, but 5G is a software-defined digital routing. Therefore, India’s networks are susceptible to cyber threats such as botnet attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) overloads.

(2) 5G lacks end-to-end encryption. Therefore, hackers can hack into systems to perpetrate cybercrimes

(3) The 5G led bandwidth expansion will enable criminals to embezzle databases easily. Further, the frequency of attacks would increase with time as more devices will be connected to the 5G network,

(4) Due to a faster network, there could be a lower probability of criminals getting caught after commissioning identity theft or credit card fraud or stealing information from computers, smartphones, and tablets.

(5) 5G may also make it easier for criminals to perpetrate cyberbullying.

(6) It could be easy to carry out DDoS onslaughts because of the real-time communication capabilities between multiple criminal groups.

(7) 5G would enable hackers to enter into Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and commit crimes. For example, an IoT vehicle can be hacked to cause an accident or make a ransom to collect insurance money, etc.

(8) Further, Terrorists would be able to execute attacks more rapidly and precisely with a 5G network.

What are solutions for fighting new-age crimes?

First, the Indian police will need to be trained so that they are able to recognize new 5G-enabled crimes.

Second, there should be the development of training programs that focus on such 5G-enabled crimes.

Third, the government and telecom companies could think of 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 make it a crime for people to use 5G technology to commit crimes.

Fifth, regulations may also require telecom companies to allow police officers access to their equipment to track the location of victims and perpetrators of 5G-facilitated crimes for countermeasures.

Sixth, law enforcement agencies will have to evolve strategies to identify victims of 5G-facilitated crimes in India, locate them, and take action against the perpetrators of such crimes.

Seventh, law enforcement agencies should have the necessary infrastructure to take full advantage of all that 5G can offer. The government must provide funds to invest in modern tools, software and infrastructure.

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