19:29 19.06.2017 Get short URL
The Universitysays the US$2.13 million system, tobe developed atits Quantum Information Science Center laboratory, will use single photons asthe communications medium quantum bits make it possible toperform calculations innew ways that are not possible incurrent communications systems or even supercomputers.
Current methods ofencrypting data are increasingly vulnerable toattacks, asthe increased power ofquantum computing comes online.
Quantum communication systems use the laws ofphysics tosecure data and are therefore resistant toattacks.
Professor Nadav Katz, Director ofthe Quantum Information Science Center, said the project would position Israel inthe “leading edge” ofresearch towardultimately secured communication systems. While a fresh tender, the center was originally founded in2013, and recruited an interdisciplinary team ofover 20 researchers fromphysics, computer science, mathematics, chemistry, philosophy and engineering toits ranks.
However, the privacy conscious and techies alike may be disappointed inthe project’s objectives rather thanfocusing onprotecting individual data, the system will instead be designed tobeef upthe government’s quantum communications capabilities, and give Israeli officials the ability toprotect themselves againsthackers and other potentially malicious forces.
Quantum information research is one ofthe biggest growth areas in21st century science, promising dramatic improvements incomputation speed and secure communication. Based onthe inherent wave-like nature ofmatter and light, it will theoretically lead tomassive leaps forward inhuman ability tofabricate, control, measure and understand advanced structures.
Competition inthe field is rapidly gathering pace, withChina inJune showing offthe results ofits first Earth-to-satellite quantum entanglement experimentlast week, using the Micius satellite launched in2016. The satellite is said tohave “teleportation-like” communication capabilities, which cannot be hacked.
Meanwhile, back onEarth, the best-developed quantum communications application is quantum key distribution companies such asQuintessenceLabs and ID Quantique exploit the quantum properties ofphotons toprotect encryption keys generated bytheir appliances, beforeusing the keys toencrypt data transmitted overconventional channels.
As such, it is inevitable governments will be the first toget their hands onmost quantum technology whether communications or computers.
The cost involved inresearch and development cannot be borne byprivate businesses, much less individuals and ontop ofboasting the requisite funds forthe task, governments would also be granted a head start indigital spying and surveillance.
Quantum computers will be most effective atbreaking encryption, due totheir hyperactive number crunching capabilities and given governmental dedication toending encryption, most notably inthe UK,there’s no doubt the technology is being doggedly pursued precisely forthis reason.
The obvious upshot ofthis would be that governments would be able toheavily insulate their own data fromoutsiders, while throwing open the vast majority ofpublic data totheir own scrutiny.
What’s more, it’s evident fromtheNSA’s XKeyscore program, asrevealed byEdward Snowden,that Western spying agencies are storing vast quantities ofencrypted data they cannot currently crack, inthe hope once a requisitely powerful quantum computer actually exists, it can retrospectively break intothose communications.
Past, current and future data may not be safe fromprying official eyes formuch longer.
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