Normally I like to add value to a news item if I am going to comment on it. I see so many scraper websites that pick up my stuff you wonder what they get out of it.
I have just sat down to comment on the press release from ISPA announcing the internet Hero and Villain finalists for this year’s ISPA Awards. I found however that ISPA had already put across much of what I might have said. I have therefore reproduced it below in its entirety with links to where you can buy tickets for the Awards on 11th July.
I will say that as one of those with a vote for these awards it is always easy to find candidates for heroes but not so for the villain. Actually that isn’t right. There are plenty of MPs that we could line up with very little understanding for how the internet works but with their own objectives in controlling it. I’m speaking personally here and not on behalf of ISPA but we have to be careful how we approach the subject of internet regulation in the UK. We need to work with MPs to help make things better in a sensible way without shooting from the hip in an emotion filled gunfight.
The winners will be announced on the night of the awards and you can read the ISPA release below. There are some great “goodies” and some shocking “baddies” taken, the internet being the global entity that it is, from around the world.
Communications Data and state surveillance dominate the shortlists for this year’s Internet Hero and Internet Villain awards at the 2013 ISPAs, with two cabinet ministers nominated along with the whistle-blower behind the PRISM surveillance programme.
The on-going surveillance debate has been a leading issue for the internet industry over the last year, with ISPA and many others publicly criticising the Communications Data Bill, the so called ‘snooper’s charter’. Alongside this, there have been other allegations of state spying and mass surveillance from the US and elsewhere.
The Internet Hero Award is given to an individual or organisation that has done the most good for the internet over the last year, whilst Internet Villain goes to the finalist ISPA Council feels has done the most damage. The shortlist was compiled by suggestions from ISPA members, ISPA Council and members of the public. ISPA is governed by a council of industry representatives and they decide the shortlist and the eventual winner, to be unveiled at the ceremony on 11 July alongside 13 other categories.
The Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP is nominated for hero for openly stating there wouldn’t be a Communications Data Bill under his watch. His fellow Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert joins him on the shortlist for his role on the Joint Committee and for publicly leading the political opposition to the Bill. ISPA Council also felt Julian is one of the few MPs that fully understands the internet and deserves recognition. The final individual nominated is Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the US government’s PRISM surveillance programme, which required internet companies to hand over details of their users without consent. Now in exile, he faces prosecution back in America. Finally, Spamhaus is rightly nominated for fighting off a significant global DDoS attack in the spring.
The shortlist for Internet Villain is equally distinguished. Home Secretary Rt Hon Theresa May MP has pushed on with the Communications Data Bill, despite the concerns and implications over its many flaws and is nominated as a result. The American PRISM programme is nominated too, for the sheer size and scale of the alleged surveillance of internet users, combined with a total lack of transparency. Bluecoat are nominated for selling Deep Packet Inspection and other surveillance equipment to unfavourable regimes, representing several other firms who have done the same. The final villain, the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdoganmakes the shortlist for not understanding the internet, calling social media a ‘menace to society’ during recent social unrest. Given Turkey’s role as a regional leader, council felt they should be role models for other regimes in the region, embracing social media and the internet as an integral part of modern democracy.
ISPA Secretary General Nicholas Lansman said “the Hero and Villain Awards are the two most anticipated categories at the ISPAs. Given what has happened in the last year, it is no surprise that surveillance dominates this year’s shortlists. Thank you to members of the public for their suggestions and I look forward to finding out who wins on the night. The awards are a fantastic night to celebrate the best of the British internet industry, and whilst Hero & Villain cover serious issues, they are light hearted in nature. The 2013 awards are the 15th ISPAs, showing how resilient and successful the sector has been.”
The ISPA Awards are taking place on Thursday 11th July are at the Park Lane Sheraton. A full shortlist of all 15 categories can be seen here. Tickets are on sale here or for more information please contact the ISPA press office on 0203 397 3308, or [email protected] for more information.
Internet Hero finalists
• Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP – For preventing the Communications Data Bill.
• Julian Huppert MP- For leading political opposition against the Communications Data Bill.
• Edward Snowdon – For exposing the PRISM surveillance project being run by the US government and calling for a debate around surveillance in the digital age.
• Spamhaus – For fending off a significant global cyber-attack in the spring.
Internet Villain finalists
• Bluecoat et al- For selling surveillance technologies and equipment to unfavourable regimes.
• Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Erdogan- For condemning social media as a ‘menace to society’, when he should recognise the value of the internet in a democracy.
• Home Secretary Rt Hon Theresa May MP- For pushing ahead with the Communications Data Bill, despite criticism from industry.
• The PRISM Project – For running a surveillance programme that appears to have operated without proper safeguards and little transparency.