(TelecomTV) In the latest skirmish of the deepening trade war of the US, the UK, parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand versus China, late last week the Chinese government passed a new control law that prohibits the exportation from the PRC of encryption technology and cryptanalysis machines. The ban includes quantum cryptographic hardware and software.
Commonly when quantum cryptology is covered in the popular media what is actually described is “post-quantum cryptography”. This refers to cryptographic algorithms (such as ECC and RSA) that are promoted as being secure against any attempt to breach them via a quantum computer. However, the reality is that such algorithms could be cracked within a matter of a few hours by a sufficiently powerful quantum computer and the reason they are not being decrypted in any number (as far as we know) is because there are, ostensibly, so few of them yet in existence.
Estimates are there are probably about 15 such devices publicly-acknowledged to exist and owned by the likes of mega-corporations such as IBM and Google. They are all experimental and while they are evolving rapidly they are not yet ready for commercial deployment. That’s the civilian domain. The military is different. It is thought that military labs in countries including China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the UK have been working on quantum computing for years and may well have some advanced working prototypes, although none will yet admit to it.