Swiss Protect Voting Data With 'Unbreakable' Encryption

A new "unbreakable" encryption method will be keep votes safe for citizens in the Swiss canton of Geneva during the country's upcoming national elections, according to Nicolas Gisin of the University of Geneva. The city-state will use quantum technology to encrypt election results as they are sent to the capital on Oct. 21. The encryption works thus: a computer in Geneva, provided by the company id Quantique, will fire photons, or particles of light, down a fiber-optic link to a receiver 62 miles away. If anybody eavesdrops on the line, they would need to intercept the photons in transit, thereby blocking the particles from reaching their destination and tipping the operators of the line off that someone is listening in.

"If anyone tries to even read the message it will explode like a soap bubble," said Gisin, the physics professor who led the team that developed the technology. Geneva's secure line is one of the first public uses of quantum cryptography.

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11 Comments

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Im glad to see an older tech idea i learned about in physics a couple years ago be used. Isnt this the "Quantum Key" idea?

NOTHING is unbreakable, who hacks links nowdays???? this sounds rather the same as Fibre in theory really, all the hackers will do is hack it once it's on the computer.

It doesn't even sound like true encryption to me.

i don't get how it is any more secure than a fibre link

Nobody is going to hack that fiber-optic link. OK, they are transferred securely, but there's still a database where it all will bes stored. If anybody is going to hack that thing, they will surely find a weak point. Uncrackable solutions just don't exist. One can always bribe/threat admin of database or other person in charge with proper access to data. Everything has it's price.

I read about this technology about a year ago or so. It sounded promising then, and I'm glad to see it's being put to use.

-Spenser

This is quantum physics. The regular laws of physics don't apply here.

Of course, since the transfer is secure what is the weakest link? That's what people will be after.

Terrible book.

Anyway, Nicolas Gisin is known for having led various quantum experiments in the Geneva area, such as testing quantum entanglement. For example, they calculated the speed of "communication" between two entangled particles in two of Geneva's suburbs. Though supposed to be instant, they saw that it was something around 100000 times the speed of light, or something ridiculously large.

The reason an eavesdropper could not record the information is because when a photon is in a dual quantum state (being in two places at once) it cannot be observed in any way. As soon as one of the particles interacts with anything, the other one disappears. It would make it impossible for anybody to interfere with the signal before it reached the receiver because it would destroy itself.

Very odd that you mention that, since I'm reading it literally right now for my English class (again, but none the less..)

Can I say cool?