By: Josh Cervantes
In the final weeks of 2018, Congress broke through an endemic gridlock and passed into law H.R.6227, better known as the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA). The NQIA signals the entry of the US into the nascent, but already contested field of quantum communications, and pits the US against its greatest strategic competitor, China. The European Union has also launched its own billion-euro program, dubbed the Quantum Flagship, further illustrating the urgency with which global powers are entering into the quantum communications arena.
Quantum communication is a field of applied quantum physics utilized in ultra-high security applications that offer unparalleled levels of data security, integrity, and intrusion detection. It allows enormous amounts of light photons, which are used to transmit data through fiber-optic cables, to assume multiple combinations of 0’s and 1’s simultaneously. The particles of 0’s and 1’s are called qubits, and their extremely fragile state means that if a hacker were to intercept the communications they would collapse and assume a value of either 0 or 1, showing that the data was tampered with. This contrasts with traditional data transmission, which uses values of either 0 or 1 to convey specific data, allowing hackers to more easily ascertain the content of a specific message. Continue reading “A Quantum Leap: Washington Bets Big On “Hack-Proof” Technology to Secure Communications”