Some recent news in the realm of quantum cryptography signals that in the not-too-distant future, there will be far fewer secrets in the world. Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden managed to crack "uncrackable" quantum crypto -- and not with some theoretical attack or exploitation. Rather, they accomplished the feat using real tools against existing -- albeit primitive -- first-generation quantum computers.
Quantum computers are designed to perform incredibly complex math quickly. There are numerous applications for this technology: weather prediction and simulated product trials, for example. More important, they'd give Pixar the ability to render its next animated film in a day instead of months. Of course, where heavy computing power is involved, so too are the military and cryptographers (who often work for the military and other state interests).
Existing public key cryptography works only because the two large prime numbers involved cannot be easily factored. When large primes can be easily factored, traditional public key encryption will no longer provide any protection. What's more, every previous public-key encrypted document will immediately be decryptable. When quantum computers progress to their full potential (which many observers say is in the next decade or two, at most), a lot of interesting scenarios will occur.
We have to assume that every government is storing all intercepted encrypted streams for later decryption (assuming they don't already have very fast quantum computers and aren't even now reading everything). So when large prime numbers become easily factorable, nearly every secret ever sent -- by our governments, dissents, enemies, allies, and so on -- becomes immediately readable. That includes our own encrypted documents.
What would the world look like if we could all immediately read each other's secrets? The irrational libertarian in me initially thinks this would be a great idea: peace, love, and happiness. The truth shall set you free. Heck, I'd love to know whether our government is hiding UFO secrets and whether Elvis is still in hiding.