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UN conference on internet hit by hackers

The International Telecommunications Union is currently debating policies that could give governments and corporations more power to eavesdrop on internet users.

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A UN conference that critics fear will support internet eavesdropping policies was hit by hackers Friday. (Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

A UN telecommunications conference in Dubai was hit by hackers this week.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is currently debating policies that could give governments and corporations more power to eavesdrop on internet users.

The hacker group downed the organization's website and disrupted the gathering for two hours, reported the Associated Press.

“It is ironic that the people who claim to be fighting for a free internet are preventing those around the world trying to follow the event online from getting access. Do they believe in one rule for them and another for everybody else?” said ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure, according to Russia Today.

The 11-day conference is being watched closely by critics who say that delegates are debating policies that could lead to internet restrictions.

BBC said the hack followed discussion of a new standard likely to be passed that allows telecom operators to get an overview of the number of blocked or dropped calls, and other traffic issues.

The technique can also be used to spy on users to see what sites they visit and how much data they are using. The move is part of the first update to be made to the treaty on global communications since 1988.

The US has openly opposed the standard and said that it does not support more web surveillance.

On Thursday, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency also said that there had been an attempt by hackers to break into their computer system.

Reuters reported that several months ago hackers broke into the IAEA system and stole the personal identities of nuclear scientists. No sensitive information about weapons inspections had been stolen.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/121206/un-conference-internet-hit-hackers