Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

March 14, 2024

2 Min Read
Map of the UK in blue
The UK wants to prevent quantum computers from being used by adversaries. Getty

The U.K. Government has updated export rules to prevent quantum computers and related technology from being used for military purposes by adversaries.

Businesses have been banned from selling quantum computers with more than 34 qubits overseas unless they obtain a special license.

The Export Control Joint Unit of the Department for Business and Trade has amended Export Control Order 2008.

It has added entries related to quantum technologies, cryogenic technologies, semiconductor technologies, additive manufacturing equipment and advanced materials.

These fall under the category of dual-use technologies, which ae those designed for civilian usage but also have potential military applications.

Once quantum computers become more powerful, they present several military and security threats. Their ability to process vast amounts of data much more efficiently than traditional computers could have a major impact on military operations.

Their optimization capability has been shown to improve complex multifactor military logistics. They also threaten to break the current encryptions used to protect secret communications.

China and Russia have invested heavily in developing domestic quantum technologies in recent years, not least in reaction to export controls. According to U.S. think tank The Center for Strategic & International Studies, the U.S. risks falling behind China in quantum technology advancements despite moves to block access to funding such as the CHIPS and Science Act.

Related:Quantum Policy Expands into Global Supply Chain

In March 2023, the Department for Innovation, Science & Technology issued a National Quantum Strategy that said: “This means that quantum is a priority technology for the government, and one that will remain critically important for our economic growth, economic security, national security and defense. We are in a global race to develop and commercialize these capabilities.”

In February 2024 the U.K. Government announced a $57 million investment to boost the quantum sector and drive breakthroughs in brain scanners, navigation systems and quantum computing.

The European Union last year adopted recommendations aimed at maintaining economic security in 10 critical technology areas including quantum.

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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