Seven People Have Been Entrusted With The Keys To The InternetS

These smart cards are the actual keys to the Internet. There are seven of them and they hold the power to restarting the world wide web "in the event of a catastrophic event."

The basic idea is that in the event of an Internet catastrophe, the DNSSEC (domain name system security) could be damaged or compromised and we'd be left without a way to verify if a URL is pointing to the correct website. That's when the holders of these smart cards would be called into action:

A minimum of five of the seven keyholders – one each from Britain, the U.S., Burkina Faso, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, China, and the Czech Republic – would have to converge at a U.S. base with their keys to restart the system and connect everything once again.

A minimum of five people is needed because each of the smart cards contains only a fraction of the recovery key necessary to set things right again. This means that no single person will hold all the power to resetting our little cyber world. [BBC via PopSci]