Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Geneva is Counting on Quantum Cryptography as it Counts its Votes

12.10.2007
The Swiss national elections on October 21 will mark a world first for Geneva as the canton employs quantum cryptography to protect the dedicated line used for counting its ballots. This unbreakable data code was conceived by the University of Geneva and developed industrially by its spin-off, id Quantique.

With this project, the first real-world application of quantum cryptography, Geneva assumes a pioneering role. It is the initial phase of a wide-ranging plan for technological experimentation involving several partners from the Lake Geneva region. Eventually, this operation will lead to the creation of a pilot quantum communications network in Geneva similar to the nascent Internet network in the United States back in the 1970s.

On Thursday, October 11, the State of Geneva announced its intention to use quantum cryptography to secure the network linking its ballot data entry center to the government repository where the votes are stored. The main goal of this initiative, a world first, is to guarantee the integrity of the data as they are processed.

PROTECTING THE INFORMATION
For Robert Hensler, the Geneva State Chancellor, this operation aims to alleviate the concerns raised by the security and preservation of data integrity since online voting began in the canton in 2001. “We would like to provide optimal security conditions for the work of counting the ballots,” he explained. “In this context, the value added by quantum cryptography concerns not so much protection from outside attempts to interfere as the ability to verify that the data have not been corrupted in transit between entry and storage.”

Chancellor Hensler also stressed the fact that the use of cutting-edge technology such as quantum cryptography is directly related to the information’s importance to the State. “Information is the raw material of the State, which it uses to create added value. Whether in the context of a political decision, a police investigation or hospital care, the State is both a regulator of information exchange and a provider of information-based services.”

INTO THE REAL WORLD
Quantum cryptography was developed at the University of Geneva by Professor Nicolas Gisin and his team in the mid 1990s. In 2001, it gave rise to a spin-off company called id Quantique, which along with Geneva’s Information Technologies Center ensured that its deployment for the October 21 elections would become a reality. According to Professor Gisin, “protection of the federal elections is of historical importance in the sense that, after several years of development and experimentation, this will be the first use of a 1 GHz quantum encrypter, which is transparent for the user, and an ordinary fiber-optic line to send data endowed with relevance and purpose. So this occasion marks quantum technology’s real-world début.”
SWISSQUANTUM
Moreover, this first secured line is only the seed of a future network that its creators would like to develop along with other partners. In this respect, the federal elections mark the beginning of the SwissQuantum project. Managed by Professor Gisin, with support from the National Center of Competence in Quantum Photonics Research (NCCR QP), which is hosted by EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), SwissQuantum aims to set up a pilot communications network in Geneva, such as the first Internet network in the San Francisco area in the 1970s, to provide a platform for testing and validating the quantum technologies that will be called upon to play a starring role in protecting the communications networks of the future.

Grégoire Ribordy, the Director of id Quantique, says that “one of the medium-term goals is to provide the community with a platform on which the validity of quantum telecommunications can be tested and demonstrated.” The ITU Telecom World 2009 event to be held in Geneva on October 5-9, 2009, which will be attended by all of the telecommunications industry’s major players, will be the high point in this demonstration. “SwissQuantum will showcase Geneva and the Lake Geneva region as the unchallenged digital security capital of the world,” added Mr. Ribordy.

NEW QUANTUM HORIZONS
Finally, this project apparently has aspirations that go beyond the Lake Geneva region. Since it is now possible to protect any public fiber-optic network, why not consider expanding the system throughout the country and beyond? Some core industries of the economy would naturally lend themselves to the use of such technology: banks, insurance companies, high-tech businesses—in short, any company whose data are sufficiently sensitive that their inviolable protection needs to be ensured. In this regard, the SwissQuantum name ought to be the best guarantee for reassuring potential clients of the soundness of this scientific innovation and the expertise of its originators.

Pascal Vermot | alfa
Further information:
http://www.epfl.ch

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cloud technology: Dynamic certificates make cloud service providers more secure
15.01.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht New discovery could improve brain-like memory and computing
10.01.2018 | University of Minnesota

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>