Europa desenvolve tecnologia anti-echelon

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Ricardo Nunes

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Europa desenvolve tecnologia anti-echelon
« em: Maio 18, 2004, 03:58:19 pm »

European Researchers Craft New Encryption

Quantum cryptography uses photons' properties to block Echelon, other eavesdropping technology.

Philip Willan, IDG News Service
Monday, May 17, 2004

The European Union will invest $13 million over the next four years to develop a secure communication system based on quantum cryptography, using physical laws governing the universe on the smallest scale to create and distribute unbreakable encryption keys, project coordinators say.

If successful, the project will produce the cryptographer's holy grail--absolutely unbreakable code--and thwart the eavesdropping efforts of espionage systems such as Echelon, which intercepts electronic messages on behalf of the intelligence services of the United States, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

"The aim is to produce a communication system that cannot be intercepted by anyone, and that includes Echelon," says Sergio Cova, a professor from the electronics department of Milan Polytechnic and one of the project's coordinators. "We are talking about a system that requires significant technological innovations. We have to prove that it is workable, which is not the case at the moment." Major improvements in geographic range and speed of data transmission will be required before the system becomes a commercial reality, Cova adds.

"The report of the European Parliament on Echelon recommends using quantum cryptography as a solution to electronic eavesdropping. This is an effort to cope with Echelon," says Christian Monyk, the director of quantum technologies at the Austrian company ARC Seibersdorf Research and project coordinator. Economic espionage has caused serious harm to European companies in the past, Monyk adds. "With this project we will be making an essential contribution to the economic independence of Europe."

Security via Photons
Quantum cryptography takes advantage of the physical properties of light particles, known as photons, to create and transmit binary messages. The angle of vibration of a photon as it travels through space--its polarization--can be used to represent a zero or a one under a system first devised by scientists Charles H. Bennett and Gilles Brassard in 1984. It has the advantage that any attempt to intercept the photons is liable to interfere with their polarization and can therefore be detected by those operating the system, the project coordinators say. An intercepted key would therefore be discarded and a new one created for use in its place.

The new system, known as Secure Communication based on Quantum Cryptography (SECOQC), is intended for use by the secure generation and exchange of encryption keys, rather than for the actual exchange of data, Monyk says.

"The encrypted data would then be transmitted by normal methods," he says. Messages encrypted using quantum mechanics can now be transmitted over optical fibers for tens of miles. The European project intends to extend that range by combining quantum physics with other technologies, Monyk says. "The important thing about this project is that it is not based solely on quantum cryptography but on a combination with all the other components that are necessary to achieve an economic application," he says. "We are taking a really broad approach to quantum cryptography, which other countries haven't done."

International Effort
Experts in quantum physics, cryptography, software, and network development from universities, research institutes, and private companies in numerous countries are contributing to the project, Monyk says. Contributors come from Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland.

In 18 months, participants will assess progress on various solutions and choose which technologies are the most promising, project coordinators say. SECOQC aims to have a workable technology ready in four years, but will probably require three to four years of additional work before commercial use, Monyk adds.

Cova is more cautious: "This is the equivalent of the first flight of the Wright brothers, so it is too early to be talking already about supersonic transatlantic travel."

Technological challenges include creating sensors that can record the arrival of photons at high speed and photon generators that produce a single photon at a time, Cova says. "If two or three photons are released simultaneously they become vulnerable to interception," he says.

Monyk believes several million people will eventually use the system worldwide. Choosing the users will be a political decision, as organizers want to prevent terrorists and criminals from taking advantage of the completely secure communication network, he says.

"In my view it should not be limited to senior government officials and the military, but made available to all users who need really secure communications," Monyk says. Banks, insurance companies, and law firms may be clients, Monyk says. Law enforcement might be granted access under exceptional circumstances. "It won't be up to us to decide who uses our results," says Milan Polytechnic's Cova.
Ricardo Nunes



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« Responder #1 em: Maio 18, 2004, 04:38:45 pm »
Muito interessante.

É muito bom que a Europa (descontando-se Reino Unido, que faz parte do Echelon) invista nessa criptografia quântica, para que o Echelon não descubra segredos militares e comerciais dos europeus.

Em 1995, a NSA e a CIA prejudicaram a escolha dos equipamentos do SIVAM, favorecendo a empresa norte-americana Raytheon, em detrimento da Thompson francesa (atual Thales). O bando de covardes do governo federal não quis excluir a Raytheon da licitação.



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« Responder #2 em: Maio 18, 2004, 09:11:47 pm »
Ahh a fotónica...

Acreditem em mim, se alguns obstáculos práticos que ainda existem forem ultrapassados, o mundo da electrónica daqui a uns anos vai dar uma cambalhota...  :wink:

I hope that you accept Nature as It is - absurd.

R.P. Feynman


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