America's 5G Era
May 24, 2021
The number of automated sensors and devices connected to wireless networks will continue to grow as fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks come online. In this report, researchers discuss how the United States should seek to balance the potential gains of the 5G era with the potential loss of privacy and of control of personal data.
Balancing Big Data and Privacy
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Fifth-generation (5G) wireless networking will increase the scale of wireless networks by an order of magnitude or more. Perhaps nothing exemplifies the future of the 5G era more than the ubiquitous surveillance that is gathering more and more-diverse data on people. Even before the 5G era, data were seen as a source of new economic value.
The number of automated sensors and devices connected to wireless networks will grow in the next few years by an order of magnitude or more. Increasingly, these networks will inform artificial-intelligence algorithms, which will then autonomously make decisions and take actions — with humans directly involved only infrequently. In this report, researchers discuss how the United States should seek to balance the potential gains of the 5G era with the potential loss of privacy and of control of personal data.
Funding for this research was made possible by the independent research and development provisions of RAND's contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers. The research was conducted by the Acquisition and Development Program within the Homeland Security Research Division.
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