Globe and Mail panel discusses the risks and opportunities of 5G networks

Jul 8, 2019

From left to right: Christine Dobby, Stephanie Carvin, Irfan Khan, Patricia Kosseim, Jacob Glick.

On June 26, 2019, Patricia Kosseim, Counsel in Osler’s Privacy and Data Management Group and Co-Leader of the firm’s AccessPrivacy platform, participated in a panel discussion at The Globe and Mail’s 175th Anniversary – Canada Future Forward Summit. In addition to Patricia, the session – The Next Big Thing: Can we navigate the risks and opportunities of 5G networks? – featured a number of other industry experts and thought leaders and was moderated by Christine Dobby, a telecom reporter at The Globe and Mail. Over the course of the session, the panelists discussed a range of topics related to the current “race” to deploy 5G networks in Canada, as well as the consequences of doing so.

During the discussion, Patricia framed her comments in the context of the privacy and security implications that need to be taken into account when considering the introduction of 5G to Canada. Overall, she explained, she has a positive outlook about the opportunities that 5G presents and about the ability of the Canadian government to manage the inherent privacy and security risks.

“I’m very optimistic about our ability to face some of these issues from a policy and regulatory perspective – there’s a lot going on,” she told the audience. “The government unveiled a digital charter last month, accompanied by significant reform proposals for privacy legislation informed by European models. There are a lot of novel and creative ideas that I think we should be thinking about.”

Christine Dobby telecom reporter at The Globe and Mail moderated The Next Big Thing: Can we navigate the risks and opportunities of 5G networks?

That said, Patricia also acknowledged that there are many challenges associated with the implementation of 5G, making the race to deployment even more difficult. As an example, she pointed to the national security concerns. 

“There are international considerations for the Canadian 5G network,” she explained. “There is so much at stake with Canada being one of the Five Eyes [an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States] and so much pressure to work in conjunction with the Five Eyes partners who are not always on the same page. That international pressure is certainly weighing on Canadian decisionmakers.”

More highlights from the Canada Future Forward Summit can be found here.