Quantum cryptography is the ultimate in ciphers. Drawing on the seemingly magical principles of quantum mechanics--the physics associated with very small particles--it allows two people to exchange encryption keys over a public network, use those keys to encode their correspondence, and know that the correspondence is completely secure. In theory, if you encode an e-mail message, a telephone call, or a financial transaction using quantum techniques, the content will be hidden from the eyes of interlopers not only for the moment, but for eternity.
Chris Fuchs, a Bell Labs scientist who's been at the forefront of quantum research for the past decade, is convinced the government has already put this impenetrable padlock on much of the top-secret correspondence it sends across Washington.
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