January 3, 2014
The US National Security Agency is building a quantum computer to break the encryption that keeps messages secure, reports the Washington Post.
The NSA project came to light in documents passed to the newspaper by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
The spying agency hopes to harness the special qualities of quantum computers to speed up its code-cracking efforts.
The NSA is believed to have spent about $80m (£49m) on the project but it has yet to produce a working machine.
If the NSA managed to develop a working quantum computer it would be put to work breaking encryption systems used online and by foreign governments to keep official messages secure, suggest the documents excerpted in the Post.
The quantum computer is being developed under a research programme called Penetrating Hard Targets and is believed to be conducted out of a lab in Maryland.
NSA 'developing quantum computer' http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25588605