The Standardisation of Lawful Interception Technologies in the 3GPP: Interrogating 5G and Surveillance Amid US-China Competition
20 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2022 Last revised: 22 Jul 2022
Date Written: July 19, 2022
In this article we show that the 5G competition between the United States and Western Europe versus China is not reflected in the standardisation of lawful intercept in the world’s leading telecommunications standardisation body, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
Guided by three concepts of infrastructure as a site and tool of political contestation, economic protectionism, and the territorialization of cyberspace, we develop a novel approach to the study of Internet governance and standard-setting processes that leverages web scraping and computer-assisted document set discovery software tools. We bring these methods into conversation with theoretical approaches from material media studies, science and technology studies, and international relations. While European and United States governments do standardise surveillance technologies, the Chinese government does not do this in the 3GPP.
This fuels distrust in 5G technologies. We propose further integration of China in standardisation could function as a trust-building measure.
Keywords: 5G, China, US-China technological competition, 3GPP, standardisation, lawful interception, computational social science
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