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Technology - Reuters - updated 3:26 PM ET Oct 31
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Wednesday October 31 2:27 PM ET

Activists Enrage WTO with Phony Web Site

GENEVA (Reuters) - Anti-globalization activists have enraged the World Trade Organization (news - web sites) (WTO) with a phony Web site that looks just like the real thing but uses spoof officialese and mentions profit at every opportunity.

``A fake WTO Web site -- http://www.gatt.org/ -- has been created to deceive Internet users by copying the entire official WTO Web site. While the design is identical, the texts have been distorted,'' the organization said on its real site, http://www.wto.org/.

To confuse users further, the fake site copies the warning, but accuses the WTO of being the impostor.

The name of the fake Web site is the acronym for the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), a body which was replaced by the WTO in 1995.

The WTO is preparing for a key ministerial meeting next month in the Gulf state of Qatar to try to launch a new round of trade talks after failure at the last meeting in 1999 in Seattle that was besieged by anti-globalization protesters.

The WTO faced a similar Net attack before Seattle.

Supporters of the 142-nation trade body have urged it to be more active in responding to ``dirty tricks'' by anti-globalization activists.

The Google (news - external web site) Internet search engine lists the gatt.org site as belonging to RTMark, an Internet community (http://www.rtmark.com/) that says it ``supports the sabotage (informative alteration) of corporate products'' in order to ``improve culture.''

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