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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