(LAW360) The risks and opportunities posed by quantum computing will bring about new issues for business leaders and lawyers alike. As part of rethinking security and service agreements in the context of quantum computing, parties must reconsider the issue of liability — this could arise in a variety of ways, including from hacks exploiting safeguards that ostensibly are quantum-proof but that prove not to be, and from errors in calculations and outcomes that are more likely in the early days of any emerging technology.
For example, a number of data protection regulations globally obligate companies collecting or processing personal data take appropriate technical and organizational security measures to protect personal data against unauthorized access; those steps may prove difficult to comply with when quantum computers can break current cryptography, and setting out appropriate contractual obligations in a context in which the relevant technology is changing so rapidly is likely to be a point of contention and wide variation in approach for some time.
With these technologies concentrated in the hands of companies such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon Web Services that already possess enormous leverage when negotiating licenses and services agreements, it seems that individual potential customers may — for the near future, at least — need to consider cloud computing strategies in the context of having limited contractual rights vis-à-vis that customer’s key providers of those technologies.
Though the full effects of quantum computing likely won’t be felt for a number of years, business leaders and legal counsel must begin to consider how to protect from the cybersecurity risks posed by the technology and how best to take advantage of its potential. The future of quantum computing is still very fluid as the technology continues to be developed in the lab and tested by companies around the globe, but it is wise for companies to begin planning for a quantum world.
NOTE: An important article with introductory discussion of quantum tech and leading corporations. Legal issues discussed later in the article are featured in this summary.