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Photo illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

There's important work to be done in securing 5G, the next generation of wireless service, former Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler told Axios. And not all of it stems from China's most controversial telecommunications equipment company.

What they're saying: "All the attention that’s being paid to Huawei, all of the furor, all of the upheaval, has masked the broader issue of the new set of threats that 5G presents," Wheeler said.

The big picture: The decentralized nature of 5G, the wide influx of new telecom equipment and the weak security of the many new devices 5G will connect to the internet create major new security challenges that need to be addressed.

Wheeler writes about those challenges and potential solutions in a Brookings Institute report out this week.

  • The administration and Congress have largely focused on Huawei, which is accused by the U.S. government of sabotaging its equipment to aid China in espionage.
  • While Wheeler acknowledges Huawei is a threat, he worries that the rush to bring 5G products to market will introduce additional security problems lawmakers aren't addressing.

The bottom line: Wheeler says all connected products need security standards that change at the speed of technology, rather than the speed of Congress. "You cannot import a radio frequency device unless it meets established standards. The same should be true of 5G devices," Wheeler said.

  • Regulators, he believes, should be able to hold wireless companies to an industry defined set of standards for 5G security. Otherwise, he worries, proactively handling security issues puts providers at a cost disadvantage.

Go deeper: Global demand for high-end smartphones is declining

Go deeper

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."