UN Net Meeting Hacked

News Article - Friday, 07 December 2012 10:40

By: Kerry Butters Category: Connectivity

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 petition.

"Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech — or even allow them to cut off Internet access," Google pointed out.

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 responsibility."

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.

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