Jon Lindsay DiscussesThe Political Logic of Cryptology

Jon Lindsay

On September 25th, the Oxford Centre for Technology and Global Affairs welcomed Jon R. Lindsay on the topic of “Why Quantum Computing Will Not Destabilize International Security: The Political Logic of Cryptology.” An Assistant Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Lindsay's research focuses on the relationship between technology and global security.

Quantum computing has been touted as the next major disruption to cyber security and strategic stability, as it has the potential to break current encryption protocols and deny intelligence warnings. Lindsay discussed these claims by first introducing theoretical aspects of quantum computing, followed by an examination of how this relates to trends observed in the past. Furthermore, he explored the political logic, differentiating operationally possible and politically useful aspects, before discussing the problems associated with quantum information technology when moving from theory to practice.

Lindsay stressed that many cryptographic systems currently used are highly secure, yet there always appears to be a way in. The attack vectors in this case are not the system itself but the surrounding environment, whether technical or human, and that the same will apply to quantum equivalents.