Month: November 2018

GDPR

We’ve all had to deal with that pesky warning about cookies when we open a site, but recently, it seems like every single site in the world has got one. These warnings are actually one of the consequences of GDPR, a regulation that protects your personal information. Here are the details.

What Is This Law?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law protecting the data rights of all residents of European Union member states. It also harmonizes data protection regulations across the EU, increases fines on data misuse, and makes it easier for people to find out what data various establishments have on them. Its main goal is to deliver greater transparency to Internet users about the data being collected and what this data can be used for, as well as making it possible to prevent unnecessary collection of information.

Since When Does it Exist?

The GDPR became effective worldwide on May 25 this year. While many of its rules are similar to the ones within the Data Protection Directive of 1995, which also applies throughout the EU, the latter came into effect long before the Internet was what it is today. Back then, there weren’t even any social media sites.

Countering Data Misuse

Global networks like Facebook and Twitter have collected infinite amounts of personal data of users – names, telephone numbers, emails, and a host of personal preferences, ranging from sexual to political. The need for a law like the GDPR became apparent as the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal unfolded, where millions of Facebook users’ public profile data was used without their knowledge for purposes surrounding the US election in 2016.

Reducing Protection Compliance Costs

Another goal of the GDPR is to make it cheaper and easier for businesses to comply with data protection regulations. The 1995 DPD enabled EU countries to interpret rules as they wanted when applied locally. With the GDPR, this won’t be possible because it applies directly, being a regulation and not a directive. The likelihood of wide interpretation thus becomes minimal. EU authorities have gone on record saying this would save companies over 2 billion euro a year.

Scope of the GDPR

The GDPR applies to almost every establishment that has access to EU residents’ personal data. All staff and client data must be processed in compliance with the regulation.

Organizations outside the EU are also bound by GDPR provisions if they have access to data of persons residing on Union territory. This includes making sure people know their data is being processed and understand the ways and the reasons it is being processed.

Quantum-Computing

Quantum computing is different from regular binary computing in that it uses qubits (quantum bits) instead of the convention binary digit code of zeros and ones. Qubit processing is much more powerful and effective than the regular binary processing ordinary computers are capable of. Quantum technology is far superior to its binary counterpart, capable of solving very complicated math problems, modeling complex chemical processes, and even cracking systems that protect personal online data.

Harnessing the Power of Atoms

Quantum computing is based on the use of atoms and molecules to carry out processing and memory tasks. Albeit still being in its early stages, hopes for this technology and its benefits to society are high. Experts believe quantum systems would be much more secure than traditional ones.

The Race to the Top

International tech giants like IBM and Google are working fervently on the development of quantum computers. In the summer of 2016, a quantum device was used by Google engineers to simulate a hydrogen molecule. In March 2017, Google announced an ambitious plan to start marketing quantum technology in the next five years. The search giant declared its goal to achieve ‘quantum supremacy’ by the end of the year and began working on a 49-qubit computer to this end. By ‘quantum supremacy’ they meant effectively launching serial production of these supercomputers.

Skeptics argued that Google’s goal was arbitrary and unachievable. Either way, IBM is now leading the way – in the fall of 2017, the corporation announced it had completed work on a quantum computer with 50-qubit capacity. Their quantum system, however, could only hold its microstate for a minute and a half. Despite being a record, it was very far from what is required to render quantum computing feasible.

Progress?

IBM’s widely heralded achievement is truly not tantamount to quantum supremacy. They have, however, managed to make quantum computers commercially available, unlike Google – at the end of last year, IBM made its 20-qubit quantum system accessible online, and it has been offering researchers the opportunity to run experiments on a 5-qubit computer via the cloud since 2016. IBM has also succeeded in modeling complex molecule behavior using quantum technology.

The Future of Quantum Computing

Quantum computational operations have been carried out on a limited number of quantum bits. A large number of governments and military organizations are now funding research to make quantum computers publicly accessible for purposes of national security.