Friday, October 12, 2007

Once again...

America fails to win on innovation.
GENEVA (AP) -- A new "unbreakable" encryption method will be keep votes safe for citizens in the Swiss canton (state) of Geneva in the country's upcoming national elections, officials said Thursday.

The city-state will use quantum technology to encrypt election results as they are sent to the capital on Oct. 21, said Nicolas Gisin of the University of Geneva.

A computer in Geneva, provided by the company id Quantique, will fire photons, or particles of light, down a fiber-optic link to a receiver 62 miles away.

If anybody wanted to eavesdrop on the line, they would need to intercept the photons, which means they won't make it to the destination. The operators of the line will then know that someone is listening in.

"If anyone tries to even read the message it will explode like a soap bubble," said Gisin, the physics professor who led the team that developed the technology.

Conventional fiber-optic communications uses vast numbers of photons, and pays no attention to their individual quantum properties. It's possible to eavesdrop on such lines simply by making a bend in the fiber and leaching off some of the light.

Geneva's secure line is one of the first public uses of quantum cryptography. In the U.S., MagiQ Technologies Inc. has been selling quantum cryptography equipment since late 2003 to government and corporate customers. Bob Gelfond, the company's chief executive, said he could not reveal who the clients are, or for what purposes the equipment is used.

We've had ourselves two major federal elections in a row wherein election results were suspected of fraud and tampering. But instead of actually trying to solve this problem with clear thought and innovation, we've let ourselves argue at how we're the best so someone else can come up with the answer. Good job America. I can't wait to vote in our next fixed election.

Snark aside, I think this is a pretty cool concept for voting encryption.

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