It sounds fanciful but if the doomsayers are right and the web falls victim to a terror attack or mass hacking then the internets future could, literally, lie in the hands of a mere seven individuals.
The not so secret seven include British businessman Paul Kane and five others from China, Burkina Faso, Trinidad and Tobago, Czech Republic, Canada and the US.
They form part of a new safety system being put in place by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). This has seen the internet watchdog embark on a process of ensuring that all websites are officially approved and ‘signed’.
From this month that process will see an international agreement enacted for the verification of websites to protect email accounts from fraud and reduce the proliferation of “look alike” pirate sites.
Controllers of most major servers have already agreed to the scheme which would see all ‘signed’ sites automatically disconnected in the event of an international emergency or attack.
Each keyholder would subsequently be recalled to a secret US base in order to recover a “master” key needed to switch these sites back on after the all clear is given. Described as a “bunker,” the facility is patrolled by armed guards and equipped with retina scan security.