Welcome to the quantum Internet, with privacy guaranteed by the laws of physics

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/>Quantum computing is gradually moving from the realm of science – and even science fiction – to become a practical technology that is being used in real-life contexts. Three years ago, Privacy News Online wrote about one aspect – the possibility that quantum computers will be able to unlock all of today’s encryption, including the strongest. But increasingly, a more positive vision of quantum computing is emerging. It is centered around the creation of what is being called the quantum Internet. That’s just a shorthand way of saying a global network of quantum computers and other devices based on the physics of quantum mechanics, able to exchange information much as ordinary systems do across today’s non-quantum Internet. But the quantum version has one crucial property that makes it of great importance for privacy: it offers a fundamentally secure way of communication in which privacy is guaranteed by the laws of physics. That’s because the quantum bits – qubits – that move across a quantum network link are subject to the observer effect: any attempt to monitor them as they traverse the network would modify them. As a result, it will be evident when things like encryption keys or data have been …

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