[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website]
We journalists like nothing more than a forthcoming apocalypse, especially when it involves something that most people don’t properly understand. It’s easy to frighten people with talk of ‘superbugs’ or argue that when the Large Hadron Collider is turned on it will create ‘strangelets’ that will destroy the known universe, and even if the stories are more speculation than fact you get a good headline and lots of interested readers.
It has got a lot harder to write this sort of story about the internet over the years as more and more of us are online from home, work or school and have some idea about how the network operates.
You can still get a good ‘internet meltdown’ headline out of projections that show we’re using up all the bandwidth and filling up our network with spam – I’ve done it myself.
But it’s even better if you can focus on aspects of the network’s core architecture that few users ever notice, like the unique numerical addresses assigned to every internet-connected device and the complex mechanisms used to move information between those devices.
And if you’ve got an authoritative report from an international body calling for something to be done then you’re on to a winner.