Quantum mechanics, information theory, and relativity theory are the basic foundations of theoretical physics. The acquisition of information from a quantum system is the interface of classical and quantum physics. Special relativity imposes severe restrictions on the transfer of information between distant systems. Various applications will be presented.
Superselection rules are limitations on the physically realizable quantum operations that can be carried out by a local agent. For example, it is impossible to create or destroy an isolated particle that carries locally conserved charges, such as an electrically charged particle, a fermion, or (in a two dimensional medium) an anyon. Recently, Popescu has suggested that superselection rules might have interesting implications for the security of quantum cryptographic protocols. The intuitive idea behind this suggestion is that superselection rules could place inescapable limits on the cheating strategies available to the dishonest parties, thus enhancing security. Might, say, unconditionally secure bit commitment be possible in worlds (perhaps including the physical world that we inhabit) governed by suitable superselection rules? An affirmative answer could shake the foundations of cryptography. The purpose of this paper is to answer Popescu's intriguing question. Sadly, our conclusion is that superselection rules can never foil a cheater who has unlimited quantum computational power.