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Bath entrepreneur given key to internet

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In what sounds like a dodgy plot line from a sci-fi film, Bath entrepreneur Paul Kane has been given an encrypted key that is able to reboot part of the World Wide Web in the event of a cataclysmic disaster.

The keys are part of an internet security system launched earlier this month – the DNSSEC system, which verifies secure websites.

If the DNSSEC main servers are damaged or destroyed, Paul Kane, the CEO of web server firm Community DNS, would be required to travel to a secure location in the US to meet up with other keyholders to reset Internet systems.

Paul Kane’s key, which looks like a credit card, holds the code to reboot servers in Western Europe. 

“I’m honoured and excited to be recognised for past achievements and current contributions to global internet security,” says Paul Kane, who is based at University of Bath’s SETsquared Innovation Centre, and has been working on the DNSSEC internet security project. “It’s an honour for Bath to be one of the locations for the ‘keys to the internet’.”

The DNSSEC (domain name system security) system verifies web sites and helps protect email accounts from fraud, using cryptographic keys. It also aims to protect people from phishing attacks and malicious websites. 

But no single key could be created to reboot the entire web. “Such a key would trigger the Balkanisation of the internet,” Paul Kane told The Guardian.

“The EU wouldn’t want the US to have it, the Middle East wouldn’t want the EU to have it, and the US wouldn’t want anyone to have it.”

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