With the emergence of quantum technology, the way we think about data privacy becomes crucial. The implications of quantum technology on privacy are far-reaching. While current devices like smartphones contain billions of transistors and semiconductor elements, they are not quantum computers. The data processed by these devices is classical. However, in the near future, the next generation of Apple iPhones could revolutionize technology by leveraging modern quantum technologies. This includes more precise navigation through the use of quantum sensors, physically secure communication using quantum key distribution, and improved batteries through quantum simulation. As quantum computers continue to evolve, even the next generations of iPhones could access quantum services through the internet. However, this advancement also poses significant risks to data protection and privacy for enterprises, digital infrastructures, economies, and everyday users. To safeguard privacy in the quantum age, it is essential to proactively review privacy strategies with quantum technology in mind. Building flexibility and educating people about the new privacy risks that quantum technology poses are critical steps.
1. What is Quantum?
A Revolutionary Shift
The European Commission’s website (Quantum Policy) tells us that quantum technology can perform incredibly complex tasks that even the most powerful supercomputers struggle with. It also enables safe transmission of sensitive information. In simple terms, quantum technology can solve problems that would take today’s fastest computers hundreds of days, if not years.
The Second Quantum Revolution is Here
We are in the midst of the second quantum revolution. Significant progress has already been made in various areas, including quantum computing, sensors, simulations, cryptography, and telecommunications. A new generation of quantum technologies is emerging, poised to have a profound impact on the economy and society.
Generous Support from Europe
In 2018, Europe launched the “Quantum Technologies Flagship” to promote the conversion of European research into practical applications using quantum technologies like quantum computing and quantum communication. This is a substantial, long-term research initiative with a €1 billion budget funded by the EU. It brings together research institutions, industry players, and public funders to strengthen European scientific leadership in this field.
2. What’s the Status of Quantum Computing?
Europe’s Progress in Quantum Computing
Europe began its quantum computing journey after receiving the “Quantum Manifesto” in 2016, a call to action supported by over 3,400 players in research and industry. They urged an investment of over €1 billion in quantum computing.
EuroHPC: Leading the Way
The European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) was established in 2018 by Regulation (EU) 2018/1488. Its mission is to make Europe a leader in both high-performance computing and quantum computing. EuroHPC aims to create, deploy, extend, and maintain a unified supercomputing and data infrastructure in the EU. Their plan is to build advanced pilot quantum computers this year, which will work alongside existing supercomputers, combining the strengths of both quantum and classical computing.
A recent change in funding, specified in Council Regulation (EU) 2021/1173, has increased EuroHPC’s budget to approximately €7 billion for the period 2021-2027.
Accessible via the Cloud
These new quantum computers are expected to be accessible to European users from science and industry via the cloud on a non-commercial basis. The infrastructure aims to accelerate the development of new knowledge and solutions for global societal challenges. Further collaborations between the EU and its member states will enhance the deployment of a world-class quantum ecosystem. Europe’s goal is to deliver its first quantum-accelerated computer by 2025.
While Europe is making strides, the United States and China maintain their leadership positions in quantum technology. Recent agreements and partnerships, such as those announced during the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May 2023, illustrate the ongoing competition in the quantum field, including collaborations between institutions like the University of Chicago, the University of Tokyo, IBM, and Google. These developments underscore the rivalry in the quantum ecosystem, particularly in response to China’s advancements in quantum technology.
3. What is the Quantum Internet?
The Future of Connectivity
The Quantum Internet represents the pinnacle of quantum technology development. It’s a network of quantum computers designed to send, process, and receive information encoded in quantum states. Importantly, it won’t replace the modern “classical” internet but will bring exciting new features like quantum cryptography and quantum cloud computing.
In this quantum world, computers use “qubits” as their fundamental units of information, similar to the traditional “bits” used in classical computing. However, here’s the catch: qubits don’t just convey information as a straightforward 0 or 1. Instead, they use a combination of unique quantum states, which exist only at the subatomic scale.
4. Is your data privacy strategy quantum proof?
Quantum Computing’s Data Protection Challenge
Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize how we handle data protection, and this comes with significant implications. Quantum computers can swiftly solve complex mathematical problems, which could make our current encryption methods obsolete. Even the most advanced encryption could be vulnerable.
Risks Across the Board
This poses risks not only for businesses but also for digital infrastructure, economies, and everyday users. Existing regulations, laws, and data protection concepts may become outdated and require updates.
Faster Data Breach Detection
Quantum sensing technology promises more efficient early warning systems, enabling near real-time detection of changes in the confidentiality or integrity of personal data. Current data breach reporting requirements, such as the GDPR’s 72-hour rule, may need adjustment to accommodate quicker intrusion detection.
The Need for Quantum-Safe Encryption
Adapting swiftly to quantum-safe encryption is crucial. Quantum computers might easily break current encryption standards, challenging the security principles underpinning regulations like GDPR. Since encryption plays a vital role in safeguarding personal data, adopting quantum-resistant cryptography becomes essential to protect sensitive information and ensure compliance with future privacy regulations. It’s imperative to implement quantum-safe encryption before a quantum computer capable of cracking public-key cryptography becomes a reality.
Building a Resilient Privacy Strategy
The full impact of quantum technology remains uncertain. Therefore, it’s essential to establish a flexible privacy strategy that can adapt to future legislative changes. The concept of cryptographic agility, or “crypto-agility,” has emerged, allowing information security protocols and standards to adjust rapidly to new cryptographic algorithms with minimal disruptions to systems.
Please feel free to contact us to review your privacy strategy, we are happy to help.