It sounds like the stuff of science fiction: seven keys, held by individuals from all over the world, that together control security at the core of the web. James Ball joins a private ceremony, and finds the reality is rather closer to The Office than The Matrix.
James Ball, The Guardian
The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer’s, expense.
What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet’s version of a telephone directory. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit.