Graphic by Antonio Cabrera
a new type of cryptography
to protect the Big Tech firm profits
from the dawn of quantum computers
and allow backdoor access
into 3 trillion internet-connected devices.
But, the core of the effort is protecting markets for Big Tech and all of its tentacles, which stand to lose years or even decades of profits should the new tech be rolled out too quickly.
The Cryptography for Hyper-scale Architectures in a Robust Internet Of Things or Project CHARIOT,
Consumer-side IoT, like smart home devices, had seen considerable growth in 2019 and expectations were high for that trend to continue.
The disruption of their supply chains as a result of the outbreak in China hardly slowed down the $52.76 Billion market with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of between 23 and 27 percent.
The projected worth of the global IoT market in 2026 has been calculated at roughly $1.3 Trillion and is expected to flood the world with 3 trillion devices in the next ten years.
Hence the "Hyper-scale" in DARPA's project moniker, which is taking the lead on behalf of the corporations who dominate this landscape to develop an encryption standard mandated by the NSA.
...are just a few of the names that top the list of IoT device and software providers.
All three of these companies have interlocking interests with the federal government that in some cases, go back decades.
An encryption standard across IoT devices becomes pivotal for the full spectrum dominance of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space sought by the U.S., which is currently threatened by China's rising technological star.
These considerations are left out of DARPA's project brief, which instead presents a different kind of threat:
A quantum leap
Every email you send and receive, every password you use and any transaction you make online relies on public key encryption and the inevitable advent of quantum computing will render all of that obsolete, according to the NIST.
NIST's Post-Quantum Crypto (PQC) report studied the impact of quantum computing algorithms on existing encryption schemes and mirrors many of the goals and milestones specified by DARPA in Project CHARIOT.
Among these is the 10-year deadline and the need for the development of "revolutionary security technologies."
Dustin Moody, NIST mathematician and PQC co-author, warned that the U.S. must be,
...in a presentation at the 2017 Asiacrypt cryptography conference in Hong Kong.
The NIST, a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce led by "King of Bankruptcy" Wilbur Ross, began the PQC study in 2012 and held its first NIST PQC workshop three years later and four months before the NSA issued its directive.
Preneel introduced the idea of the quantum computer threat to existing encryption methods and the eventual end of classical cryptography.
DARPA's CHARIOT program is racing to meet the ever-closing deadline for developing and deploying a post-quantum cryptography suite that can serve as a stop gap for what seems to be the inevitable dawn of large-scale quantum computing.
Whether a quantum computer can be built is no longer a matter of debate.
The vast empires of Tech would be slain right where they stand if quantum technology were introduced too suddenly and DARPA, which is nothing if not accommodating to the private sector, is taking the lead on a matter known in the field of cryptography as Post-Quantum cryptography.
DARPA has requested $1.1 Billion for 70 unclassified projects relating to cryptography or cybersecurity in its fiscal 2021 Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) budget, according to Bloomberg Government and while the agency is perceived as creators of cutting edge technology for the military, it is more akin to a bank than the Q lab of James Bond movie lore most people imagine it to be.
DARPA uses tax-payer money to fund private sector players in the Defense industry to develop defense-related technology and ultimately facilitate their application for commercial purposes.
Virtually all DARPA programs include explicit provisions for the commercial exploitation of discoveries.
In the case of Project CHARIOT, phase III,
This is a classic manifestation of a state-run economy paying lip service to "free markets" while intervening at the structural level to shape and limit those markets.
China, the U.S.' new boogeyman, is accused daily by American politicians of doing the same and call it communism.
But, in the United States the lines between the private and public sectors have all but disappeared and the level of integration between the federal government, the largest American corporations, and Academia is almost symbiotic at this point.
The next era of computers may already be upon us; its specs stored in an NSA filing cabinet just waiting for the inventory of the old era to run out.
Many years ago my father brought a Chinese engineer to set up his pride and joy - a Crown sound system - with the newest addition:
It was 1984 and as the man did his work, he said something remarkable.
CDs, he proclaimed, were already obsolete.