(Forbes) Britain’s telecommunications giant BT has been researching quantum communications for several years in the effort to keep data on ultra-secure on fiber-optic cables. The company’s research focus has been on a technique known as quantum key distribution, which refers to using quantum physics to share keys in encrypted communications. The advent of powerful quantum-computing techniques could not only supercharge artificial intelligence but crack any code or password.
“Although this is quantum physics and seems like a hard science topic for a corporation to get involved with, we can see the potential impact all the way down the line,” says Jonathan Legh-Smith, who heads up partnerships and strategic research at BT Group. “Take an optical fiber, the thickness of your hair,” says Legh-Smith. The big worry for telecommunications providers like BT is the scenario of an unknown actor stealing data from a fiber-optic cable and then putting it back in undetected. But harnessing quantum physics can help detect even minor infractions in the data flow.