A meeting held on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the future
of the internet was interrupted by hackers, who managed to knock some of the
ITU’s websites offline.
The UN's World Conference on International
Telecommunications (WCIT) meeting, currently ongoing in Dubai, is discussing
the possibility of moving some of the control over the internet to move some of
the power away from the US.
The proposed changes to the International Telecommunications
Regulation (ITR) would mean more regulation over the internet and IP addresses
which are currently controlled by ICANN and IANA. Both the US and the EU have
warned against the move, pointing out that it could "negatively impact the
internet, its architecture, operations, content and security, business
relations, internet governance and the free flow of information online,"
Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake and other lawmakers said in the
motion for resolution.
It’s thought that the ITU reform proposals could harm the "open
and competitive nature of the internet” and Google are also opposed to the plan
and have gone as far as to launch an online
"Some proposals could permit governments to censor
legitimate speech — or even allow them to cut off Internet access," Google
Whilst it’s not been 100% confirmed that Wednesday’s 2-hour downtime
was due to a hack, the ITU said that they are conducting an investigation.
"The incident blocked civil society, media and other
interested parties from following the proceedings, and prevented access to the
wealth of online information on the ITU's WCIT home page and newsroom,"
the ITU said in a statement on Thursday. "Some hacker groups are claiming
Over 900 changes have been proposed by the ITU and regulators
have until December 14 to agree which proposals they may be willing to accept.
Some of the proposals include spam blocking, cutting mobile roaming fees and
prioritising emergency calls."The telecommunications standards arm of
the UN has quietly endorsed the standardisation of technologies that could give
governments and companies the ability to sift through all of an internet user's
traffic - including emails, banking transactions, and voice calls - without
adequate privacy safeguards," the Centre
for the Democracy and Technology said.