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December 4, 2023

In Support of a Free, Secure, and Prosperous Future 

U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia, Jamie L. Harpootlian
Delo, May 30, 2023

We live in a rapidly evolving world. Innovation in next-generation and emerging technologies is here – in every country throughout the world – bringing opportunities for positive advances like clean and affordable energy, trustworthy communications technology, robust manufacturing and agricultural economies, streamlined essential services, modern, safe infrastructure, and strong national security.

To achieve the full promise of this vision for the future, we must work together to mitigate risks to our digital and cyber space. We must invest in our future while defending ourselves from malicious cyber actors – those adversaries who threaten the safety and security of all of us who use  technology in our personal and professional lives.

In this critical time, we face an imperative to safeguard privacy, support economic prosperity, and defend national security and human rights in cyberspace. These needs demand an urgent, intentional, and clear response from allies and partners to protect and defend our digital and cyber space.

The choices we make have enormous consequences for all aspects of our daily lives. Cyber and digital security cannot be taken for granted. Safeguards are essential to protect the values and fundamental freedoms at the heart of our democracies.

Take for example one vital area of communication:  Fifth generation or 5G wireless cellular technology. It touches every aspect of our lives including our homes, businesses, cities, infrastructure, and national security. We must be able to trust 5G equipment.

We must implement strong policies and legislation, resources, and training. Responsible state behavior and capacity to defend digital and cyber space must be the standard. We need a truly global approach to 5G security. We must forge and leverage international coalitions with our partners to counter threats to an open, reliable, and secure Internet.

In August 2020, the United States and Slovenia signed a Joint Declaration on 5G Security. More recently, Slovenia passed the Electronic Communications Act providing government authority to ban high-risk equipment that threatens national security. These are necessary steps to ensure only trusted suppliers can enter Slovenia’s communications network. We stand ready to collaborate further on 5G by sharing best practices with each other and exploring new technologies together to provide greater security, capacity, and resiliency.

The United States places democratic values at the core of our investments in technology innovation. We must be vigilant, responsive, and united when authoritarian governments seek to use technology to abuse human rights and undermine democracy. We are committed to protecting the security of our citizens’ private data, sensitive infrastructure, and technical innovations from malign cyber actors, especially those with a track record of gathering information to profile our people, target those they see as critics, and steal intellectual property and sensitive government information. Protecting this information is vital to prevent malicious cyber actors from exploiting platforms to drive what people can see online.

Choosing a trusted supplier to provide 5G networks is the first line of defense to protect data. The stakes could not be higher.  Now is the time to make the right choices and investments for the world we live in today.