Free-space optical communication is a promising solution to the "last mile" bottleneck of data networks. Conventional near infrared-based free-space optical communication systems suffer from atmospheric scattering losses and scintillation effects which limit the performance of the data links. Using mid-infrared, we reduce the scattering and thus can improve the quality of the data links and increase their range. Because of the low scattering, the data link cannot be intercepted without a complete or partial loss in power detected by the receiver. This type of communications provides ultra-high bandwidth and highly secure data transfer for both short and medium range data links. Quantum cascade lasers are one of the most promising sources for mid-wavelength infrared sources and Type-II superlattice photodetectors are strong candidates for detection in this regime. The same way that that low scattering makes mid-wavelength infrared ideal for secure free space communications, high scattering can be used for secure short-range free-space optical communications. In the solar-blind ultraviolet (< 280 nm) light is strongly scattered and absorbed. This scattering makes possible non-line-of-sight free-space optical communications. The scattering and absorption also prevent remote eavesdropping. III-Nitride based LEDs and photodetectors are ideal for non-line-of-sight free-space optical communication.© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.