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Friday, April 3, 1998 Published at 08:08 GMT 09:08 UK



UK

'Nu Labour' hijacks Tory Website
image: [ New Labour wants you, or is it the Conservative Party? ]
New Labour wants you, or is it the Conservative Party?

It looked like an April Fool, or perhaps the work of someone with a grudge against Britain's Labour and Conservative parties.

But go to www.labour.nu on the Internet and you arrive at the Tories' Website, complete with photograph of William Hague and the message "Join Us".

It is the official Website run by Tory Central Office in London and nothing to do with New Labour. But an Internet prankster has registered the .nu address as an alias.

Opposition denial

"These kinds of spoof sites turn up all the time, this isn't quite the same thing, but there's nothing we can do about it," a spokesman at the Conservative Party's headquarters in Smith Square told BBC News online.

"I just hope that it's not going to turn into something illegal or pornographic that could degrade the Tory party," he said, referring to how organisations such as Nasa and Nasdaq have suffered porn sites being established on variations of their address.

Polynesian paradise

But it does mean the Tories are now big on the tiny coral atoll of Niue in Polynesia, which possesses the .nu country domain name.

Go to www.nu and you can register any address with the .nu suffix for $25, which is just what the hijacker has done. A search shows labour.nu as being registered to the Nu Labour Information Service in Gravenhage, the Netherlands.

When BBC News online rang a contact number, someone called Mark picked up the phone, who later went on to say he was called Brian Buckingham. He denied all knowledge of the site but said he knew someone who might have staged such a hoax and would ask him to phone us.

Later, someone calling themselves Avril Poisson phoned and admitted responsibiltiy for the hoax. "It was an April Fool, and the address should now start to disappear from servers as it had an expiry date," he said.

"It was just a jolly little jape one or two people came up with over a few beers. If the Labour party wants to make us an offer for the address, perhaps a donation to charity, I'm sure we'd accept it."

"I'm someone who has an interest in politics and notes how close Labour and Conservative policies are now," he added.

Niue, with only around 2,000 inhabitants, has won fame far beyond its tiny boundaries by being seized upon by the Internet community in its search for enticing and memorable addresses.

With the .com domain overcrowded, .nu has gained cachet through suggesting "new" and meaning "now" in Scandinavian languages, or "nude" in French. Americans have registered addresses such as something.really.nu.


 





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