Catch me if you can: Protecting mobile subscriber privacy in 5G – VanillaPlus – The global voice of Telecoms IT

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In today’s connected world, mobile networks carry a virtual trace of our lives as they unfold minute-by-minute. Smartphones, smartwatches and fitness trackers, tablets and PCs, connected cars, and even smart home appliances, constantly collate our most personal and sensitive data, says Stephane Jacquelin, chair of the Trusted Connectivity Alliance Mobile Privacy Working Group.
This means any compromise can lead to hugely damaging breaches of user privacy.  Blackmail, harassment, fraud, manipulative commercial profiling, to name just a few, are all credible threats.
The advent of 5G presents an opportunity to address key concerns for mobile networks and promote subscriber privacy. Protecting the most prominent personal data involved in mobile communications – the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) – must therefore be a critical consideration.
What is an IMSI?
The IMSI – known as Subscription Permanent Identifier (SUPI) in 5G – is the unique subscriber identifier allocated by the mobile network operator (MNO) to each SIM card or in an eSIM. As it represents the relationship between subscribers and the MNO that issued the SIM, it can be used to confirm a subscriber’s identity and monitor location, calls and SMS messages.
Put simply, the IMSI should be considered as deeply private information. But in …

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