Re: [Cfrg] likelihood that someone has a quantum computer

Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie> Mon, 13 January 2014 10:01 UTC

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Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2014 10:01:22 +0000
From: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>
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To: Yoav Nir <ynir@checkpoint.com>, Watson Ladd <watsonbladd@gmail.com>
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Cc: "cfrg@irtf.org" <cfrg@irtf.org>
Subject: Re: [Cfrg] likelihood that someone has a quantum computer
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On 01/13/2014 06:23 AM, Yoav Nir wrote:
> When we do standardize patented technology, implementers have four
> choices: 
> 1. Get a license
> 2. Decide that the patent is bogus, and fight it in court.
> 3. Wait for the patent to expire.
> 4. Ignore the technology.
> 
> All implementers have lawyers, and all implementers hate paying for
> IPR, so #1 and #2 hardly ever happen (with notable exceptions such as
> RSA years ago and some codecs).
> 
> Considering that we have no proof of any adversary having a quantum
> computer just yet, #3 and #4 are more likely, but that's a choice for
> implementers to make. We can lead a horse to water and all that.

And its also worth noting that the IETF at least also doesn't
tend to want to take on work where #3 or #4 are likely to
apply - there's enough pressing work to be done that that'd be
seen as a waste of effort by many, given the short term nature
of much IETF work. I think the non-deployment of EKE and similar
protocols is really good evidence that patents in this space
are quite effective at blocking deployment of potentially
useful technology.

But I think work on crypto for a world that contains a real
general purpose quantum computer might fit very well for CFRG
if there're enough interested and capable folks. Just don't
expect that to translate into IETF work very quickly in the
absence of a pressing demand.

S