The House of Representatives passed the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act by voice vote on July 12.
The legislation is sponsored by Reps. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and would “encourage the migration of Federal Government information technology systems to quantum-resistant cryptography, and for other purposes,” according to the text of the bill.
The need for the legislation comes amid concerns surrounding the eventual and expected use of quantum computing technology by bad actors to break existing encryption methods and gain access to protected data.
“Even though classical computers can’t break encryption now, our adversaries can still steal our data in the hopes of decrypting it later. That’s why I believe that the federal government must begin strategizing immediately about the best ways to move our encrypted data to algorithms that use post-quantum cryptography,” said Rep. Khanna when the bill was introduced earlier this year.
If the bill becomes law, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would work closely with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to ensure certain computing standards are met.
NIST is already engaged in a years-long effort to identify next-generation quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms, and earlier this month announced its selection of four algorithms that are expected to become part of the agency’s post-quantum cryptographic standard. That standard is expected to be finalized in the next two years.
The legislation now heads to the Senate, where no companion legislation has yet been filed.