Would Wiretapping Laws Spell the End of Quantum Encryption?

Credit: NASA
The ink had not even dried on the stories about India and the U.A.E. trying to rein in BlackBerry encryption, when the New York Times on September 27 reported that the U.S. government plans to introduce a bill that would make it illegal to create and sell encryption technology that does not have a “back door” access.

Any encrypted means of communication — be it Skype or GMail — would have to include a feature that would allow law enforcement to decrypt messages under court approval.

As I write in my ScientificAmerican.com article, one unintended consequence of such legislation — one that no one seems to have thought through — is that it could kill the nascent industry of quantum encryption — and one of the main motivations for developing a quantum Internet.

Among the sources I quote in the article are MIT physicist Seth Lloyd, who wrote Privacy and the Quantum Internet for our October 2009 issue (requires subscription), and Artur Ekert, the inventor of one of the first quantum encryption algorithms.

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