Indians and Chinese more willing to trade privacy for 5G speeds

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Consumers in the United States are at odds with those in China, India, and Brazil regarding trading off privacy to enjoy 5G, the new super-fast wireless technology, raising the prospect of conflicts between nations as the network expands.

Only 21% of U.S. consumers would accept lower privacy standards in return for much higher speeds, according to a new 5G survey by Politico/Qualcomm, while more than 60% of consumers in China, India, and Brazil would be willing make such a compromise. Relative to current speeds, 5G would be up to 100 times faster.

The split could create friction internationally over privacy standards adopted in the age of 5G and possibly result in a fractured set of policies regulating the ways networks are monetized, advertised, and used.

The survey results also showed a split among countries regarding consumer trust in corporations to protect their privacy and securely store their personal data. Just 7% of consumers surveyed said they had a “great deal of trust” that companies would be careful gatekeepers of their personal information. This finding comes after big privacy scandals in the U.S. in the past few years, such as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data breach.

In China, however, 38% of consumers expressed trust in corporations to safeguard their personal data, as did 65% in India.

American, Brazilian, and Japanese consumers said, however, that they trust corporations more to guard their privacy than the government, the survey found. Seventy percent of Chinese respondents said they would rather trust the government.

Most countries around the globe are currently moving quickly to build new 5G networks. Consumers hope that it will bring a number of economic benefits, such as more powerful artificial intelligence and smarter machine-learning tools, a host of internet-connected devices such as kitchen appliances, new kinds of health monitors, and driverless automobiles.

Regarding 5G technology in the U.S., President Trump said last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that “I think we’re far advanced, much further than people understand.”

“We got off to a very late start before I got here. But once I got here, we’ve really caught up,” Trump said.

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