• There are seven physical keys, held by individuals across the world, that keep the internet glued together.
  • They look after the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS.
  • It is run by US-based non-profit organisation Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann.  


There are seven physical keys that keep the internet glued together. Without them, your wouldn't be able to browse. 

The keys are held by individuals from all over the world, that together control security at the core of the web.

What these men and women look after is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. The DNS works like a phone directory, with your web address, or IP address, acting as your telephone number.

How your DNS works. Icann

Together, their keys create a master key, which in turn controls one of the central security measures at the core of the web.

It is run by US-based non-profit organisation Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann.  They have met four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010.

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

But as secure as all of this is, the internet is an open piece of technology not owned by any single entity. The internet was invented in the US, but the US relinquished its decades of stewardship of DNS earlier this month. Icann is officially in charge.

Icann lets anyone monitor this ceremony, providing a live stream over the internet. This is a video of the first one held in 2010.

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