ETSI ISG makes ‘Light Speed' progress in standardization of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD)

ETSI Headquarters, Sophia Antipolis, France - 14 October 2008

Quantum cryptography has seen exponential focus from industry and research in recent years, making rapid progress and extending into a competitive industry with commercial products.

Quantum Key Distribution allows for a new primitive, which permits two parties to establish a secret key from a short pre-shared secret and a public exchange, something that was never possible via classical, non-quantum means.

At its kick-off meeting in Vienna on 9 October 2008, the newly-formed ETSI Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) agreed on the following 6 Work Items in less than 60 minutes:

• Security assurance requirements
• User requirements
• Components and internal interfaces
• Application interface
• Security proofs
• QKD devices integration within standard optical networks

The first specifications from these Work Items are expected to be published at the Group's 2nd meeting, as early as December 2008, as is news of further work on network aspects.

ETSI ISG QKD unifies partners from Industry, Research and academia from all over the world and the Group met following the success of the SECOQC demonstration on Quantum Key Distribution in Vienna which concluded just 24 hours earlier.

ETSI Director-General Walter Weigel said:
"ETSI ISGs are the ‘fast track' to World Class Standards and were designed specifically to assist groups agree and publish specifications swiftly. They are ideal for pre-standardization and I congratulate the QKD group for the rapid progress they have made".

Thomas Laenger, Austrian Research Centre said:
'I am glad that we were finally able to officially start the ETSI ISG on Quantum Cryptography and Quantum Technologies. All proposed six Work Items were unanimously accepted and set into operation. The ISG will provide a forum for the most influential players from research, industry, and commerce and their common goal of advancing quantum cryptography through the development of common standards'

Notes for Editors

For About ETSI Industry Specification Groups:
ETSI Industry Specification Groups (ISGs) operate alongside the existing structure of Technical Committees and Working Groups and supplement ETSI's conventional standards development process providing a mechanism for the speedy preparation of technical requirements or specifications for well-defined, specific issues, typically in response to a need expressed by a subset of the ETSI membership.
An ETSI ISG may adopt working procedures that differ from those normally applying within ETSI. However, the fundamental rules of ETSI, in particular with regards to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) still apply. The work of ETSI ISG's results in the publication of 'ETSI Group Specifications' which may later be passed to the traditional ETSI open standards-making process to become formally-recognized standards or reports.
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About ETSI
ETSI produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet technologies and is officially recognized by the European Commission as a European Standards Organization. ETSI is a not-for-profit organization whose 700 ETSI member organizations benefit from direct participation and are drawn from 62 countries across 5 continents worldwide.
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The vision of SECOQC is to provide European citizens, companies and institutions with a tool that allows them to face with confidence the threats of future interception technologies, thus creating significant advantages for European economy.
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