Seven people have been chosen to receive keys that, when used together from a secure location, can be used to "restart the world wide web" after a "catastrophic event." No, really.

This is what happens when you let nerds run everything: The whole world turns into an extended Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Seven specially-chosen people are now members of a "chain of trust"; in the event of a catastrophe—like a terrorist attack, or Saruman joining forces with Sauron, or Barack Obama turning off the whole internet—five members of The Fellowship of the Internet must meet in a secure location "to recover the master key" and summon Captain Planet (see above picture).

Your Seven Internet Keymasters are:

  • Paul Kane (Great Britain)
  • Dan Kaminsky (United States)
  • Jiankang Yao (China)
  • Moussa Guebre (Burkina Faso)
  • Bevil Wooding (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Ondrej Sury (Czech Republic)
  • Norm Ritchie (Canada)

I'm not sure who is "the sexy one," who is "the brooding one," who is "the one who dies early on," etc.

(Okay, okay, jokes aside, this is what's really going on: A team of computer scientists has developed a security system called DNSSEC that's intended to make sure that websites are what they say they are. The selection of seven "keyholders"—the "keys" are actually swipe cards; see below for a pic—is intended to reassure consumers that the system would continue to work even in the event of a major disaster. It would only affect the websites using DNSSEC. But it's more fun to pretend the other stuff.)

[BBC; Guardian; Popular Science]