- Associated Press - Thursday, December 6, 2012

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) - Organizers of a U.N. conference on global telecommunications said Thursday that hackers apparently blocked their website and disrupted the talks, a gathering some critics fear could lead to greater controls over the Internet.

The U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union said the website was hit late Wednesday, blocking access to its main page and interfering with a closed-door working group. It says it is still investigating but initial signs point to hackers.

The statement says Internet traffic was diverted to a backup website for two hours before normal operations resumed. Officials at the conference, which brings together nearly 2,000 delegates from 193 nations, say the incident underscores the need for better cyber-security coordination.

The 11-day gathering in Dubai is also being closely watched for the possibility that new international pacts on Internet commerce and security emerge from it.

The U.S. is leading efforts to block new Internet regulations, fearing they could open the door to greater monitoring and restrictions.

The head of the U.S. delegation, Ambassador Terry Kramer, told reporters that he supports efforts to expand Internet services to developing countries, but will stand against any possible rules that could allow more government oversight or surveillance of the Net.

The U.N. group is seeking to update its treaty on global telecommunications for the first time since 1988, well before the Internet age. The conference also is expected to look at mobile phone roaming charges and agreements over land-line services.