What if we told you that 14 people in the world have total control over the internet?
This story could be taken straight from a science fiction novel, but it is true, the entire global internet is controlled by 7 real ‘physical’ keys. And their bearers gather regularly for ultra-secure rituals.
James Ball, a journalist for the Guardian was fortunate enough to recently attend one of these covert ceremonies known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This organisation is ‘responsible for assigning digital internet addresses to websites and computers,’ as Business Insider points out.
To keep watch over the internet ICANN has selected 7 people who have been entrusted with these famous keys, and 7 additional people to keep emergency keys. These 14 people potentially have complete control over the web, and could even make it disappear!
The physical keys open safes scattered around the world. Inside these chests are smart ‘key cards.’ When the 7 cards are collected, they constitute a ‘master key,’ which is in fact a computer code allowing access to all the information kept by ICANN.
The 14 lucky candidates have been gathering 4 times a year since 2010, in order to regularly generate a new ‘master key’ in order to not run the risk of losing this vital code. This story could definitely inspire a few Hollywood writers!