Thursday, July 29, 2010

The man with the keys to the world wide web

Excellent news. Bath entrepreneur Paul Kane has been entrusted with one of the keys to the world wide web. And if it all goes pear-shaped, he’ll be the man to turn it off and turn it back on again.
Or to be slightly more accurate, in the event of a terrorist attack or hacking exploit that threatens the integrity of said web, he would travel to the US to meet five of the other six keyholders. Together they would reboot the Domain Name Security System and reboot the www.
All of which sounds like a jolly good thing, on the face of it. Even if you don’t quite understand what it means in practical terms.
It does leave a few questions unanswered, though.
First off, how is Mr Kane supposed to buy himself an airline ticket to America if the entire world wide web has gone into hacker-induced meltdown?
And what happens if he loses his personal key down the back of the sofa? Has he got a spare? Has he put it on a keyring? Preferably one of those electronic jobs that warble back at you when you whistle at them?
And how many times has he heard most of these wisecracks before in one form or another?
So there’s absolutely nothing for us to worry about. Especially those of us who don’t know the difference between the world wide web and the internet, and probably never will. Because Mr Kane has got it all under control.
A bit like Bath and North East Somerset council, really. (He wrote, going off at a complete tangent.)
After last Sunday’s Sky Ride Bath, questions were asked on about how much money, if any, the council made from the event.
One regular contributor discovered that it would cost £550 to get a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order to close all the roads, plus an additional cost for advertising.
Following the link (shortcut: provided by our reader takes you to the Licences and Street Trading page on the council website that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that B&NES does indeed control everything.

Want to start a zoo? B&NES will sell you a licence, for £534 plus vets’ fees.

Want to trade as an acupuncturist (or a tattooist, or indeed any sort of -ist that involves piercing the skin)? The permit is a snip (ouch) at £72.

Want to put up a banner across the highway? Be prepared for a world of bureaucratic pain.
Want to store fireworks, or poisons, or petroleum? Want to breed puppies, or keep a sloth, or a tapir, or a crested porcupine? Fancy your chances as a chaperone for children involved in a theatrical performance? B&NES has the licence or certificate you need, or can tell you where to get one.

Just remember though, that if you want to start a new career as a pedlar, pushing a wheeled trolley is not acceptable.

You can even find all the forms you need to set up a sex shop. But you didn’t want to know that, did you?

Bureaucracy gone mad? Not really. Whether it’s the web or the real world, we all need someone to keep us safe from the mutters.

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