Computers have previously, and will continue, to substantially transform many levels of activities in our society. Personally I can say that as of mid 1980’s to date such equipment greatly facilitated my ability to convey my written thoughts promptly, in easy to read form, to other individuals and audiences. For me, this been a sizable gain from personal computing.
Privacy, though, is becoming scarcer, as one of the less desirable other associated effects. That is so on personal, business-commercial, governmental, and foreign relations levels.
In 2013, events transpired so that a large majority among members of the USA public have now heard about this country’s NSA. That is, the National Security Agency. Mr Snowden’s disclosures about NSA massive monitoring made a big splash within news reports. (Previously it was jokingly called the “No Such Agency” by some of those persons who looked for and read published articles about its situation in earlier years.) NSA is charged with monitoring telecommunications covertly as part of this nation’s security intelligence community.
Governments, businesses, individual people, seek assurances that at least some portion of their electronically transmitted messages, would be kept from being readable, clearly understandable, by 3rd parties not authorized by the messages senders. Example questions at issue may include things such as: Who is doing which financial transition, for which purpose, with which monetary amount, and when; banking transactions. These are among the most obvious matters in which the direct participants want confidentiality against disclosure to outside parties. Hence computer software features to encrypt some communications are in-demand and are routinely (automatically) employed.
Currently, data privacy is usually founded upon mathematical methods of data encoding, then keys to decoding later involve specifying numbers containing many digits. Such individual numeric keys formed by specifying a selection of a string of prime numbers, which when multiplied together yield the decoding key number.
The inverse process, faced by outsiders who intercept encrypted messages, who want to learn the content, is difficult. Their computers will currently need to work for impractically long periods of time seeking to discover what had been the particular set of prime numbers needed to factor the code key number, in order to decode the message again into readable form, without being told what it is by the message sender.
Quantum computing is a newly emerging methodology in computers technology. It is being explored due to offering vast increases in data computation speed and data storage densities. Hence, motives why the NSA would want to make it available to support their mission is obvious. Therefore, read below an article in New Scientist magazine (online version) which addresses this topic.
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Entangled spies: Why the NSA wants a quantum computer
18:10 03 January 2014 by Jacob Aron
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The US National Security Agency wants a quantum computer – and has dedicated $79.7 million to the technology, according to the latest top secret government documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Washington Post.
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Quantum computers promise to vastly outperform even the best ordinary computers at specific tasks by exploiting the weird properties of quantum mechanics. While a regular PC computes with bits that are either 0s or 1s, quantum machines use quantum bits, or qubits, which can be both simultaneously, and offer a computational speed-up.
Cracking the internet
One area quantum computers should excel in is factoring numbers into their prime building blocks. That could make them capable of breaking the internet’s most commonly used encryption methods, which depend on the fact that ordinary computers can’t find prime factors quickly. So in principle, the NSA could use a quantum computer to read secret data – without the need to collude with tech firms, which they have done in the past.
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