US blacklisted quantum computing companies because of national security concerns

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The White House blacklisted eight Chinese quantum computing companies as concerns grow that the technology will allow hackers to easily break into the West’s most sensitive national security systems.

The companies, which include Quantum CTek and the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, were added to the so-called Entity List, which prevents American companies from working with them.

The US Department of Commerce said the companies were among those believed to be “contrary to national security or the foreign policy interests of the United States.”

Quantum computing is drawing more and more attention in defense circles as the technology nears utility.

The computers promise to surpass today’s supercomputers by using an architecture that is based on quantum mechanics and allows them to do many more calculations at the same time.

It is feared that they will soon be able to crack the encryption used to encrypt sensitive communications and protect data for the secret services, which will give the first country to use the technology a huge advantage.

The recently signed Aukus Pact between Great Britain, the USA and Australia included a commitment to share the work on quantum computing.

UK ministers have funded quantum research with taxpayers’ money and added quantum computing companies to areas where ministers can review agreements for national security reasons.

Last week, Boris Johnson said the UK would build the world’s first general-purpose quantum computer to give the UK a 50 percent share of the world market by 2040.

The Commerce Department said it was listing Chinese companies to prevent US technology from being “used in the People’s Republic of China’s quantum computing efforts that support military applications such as stealth and anti-submarine applications and capability “Break encryption or develop unbreakable encryption”.

Other members of the US list of companies are Huawei, the semiconductor manufacturer SMIC, and DJI, a drone developer.

The Chinese embassy in Washington said the US “is using the fallback concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress and restrict Chinese companies by all possible means.”


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