By September 10, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Quantum Computers Beat NSA Spying

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The NSA overreach leaked by various sources in recent months has been all the buzz in the media. There seems little hope of protecting yourself from unconstitutional government spying into your email, internet usage and cell phone “metadata”. But one thing that both the public at large and even the computer industry does not talk nearly enough about might be the solution… at least in coming years.

Those familiar with Moore’s Law are aware of the fact that towards the end of this decade, computer technology will begin to reach its true point of diminishing returns. That is, the way that computers, microchips and processing are developed, have been increasing exponentially for a long time. But that exponential advancement in technological progress will taper off soon. There will no longer be an iPhone 20 right after the release of the iPhone 19. But there is one caveat: quantum computing.

Unfortunately, many of the biggest names in Silicon Valley have shown a remarkable hesitance to invest in the necessary level of development in quantum computing. This may result in a last minute rush, like the 1999 round the clock COBOL programmers burning the proverbial midnight oil at corporations like Yahoo to Proctor and Gable. Once enough money is on the line, things get done. In the mean time, whoever wins the rush to master and market quantum computers will be the next billionaires, and those of us who are ahead of the NSA curve on them will reap the rewards in terms of privacy and data security.

QZ.com reports that “This kind of communication cannot be defeated by future advances in computing power, nor new mathematical algorithms, nor fancy new engineering,” according to Andrew Shields, head of the Quantum Information Group of Toshiba Research Europe. “As long as the laws of physics hold true, it will ensure that your communications are fully secured.”

A quantum network uses specially polarized photons to encode an encryption key—a very long series of numbers and letters that can unlock a digital file. The photons are then sent down a fiber optic cable until they reach their destination, a photon detector, which counts them, and delivers the key to the intended recipient. If the photons are interfered with, the individual packets of information are forever altered and the recipient can see the telltale signs of tampering.

Until there is an effective means of obtaining and utilizing a quantum personal computer, this is all somewhat theoretical for the every day reader. But it is nevertheless an important development on the horizon. If the lateness of world governments to exploit the full surveillance capabilities of computers and the internet in the 1990s is any indication, the people may will have the upper hand as quantum computers take the lead in emerging technologies.

(Article: Ari Simeon; Photo: BBC)

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