Sony and the EC vie for Internet Villain award

Sony BMG's practice of installing dangerous software on customers' PCs has won it a nomination for the ISPA Internet Villain award alongside the EC, Russia and the UK presidency of the EU
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Nominations for the top five Internet heroes and villains of 2005 were announced on Tuesday by ISPA, the Internet Services Providers' Association.

The All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) and Ofcom were nominated for the Hero category by the ten-person ISPA Council, which has listed Sony BMG and the European Commission in the Villain category.

Sony BMG won its place in the shortlist for compromising the security of its customers' PCs with its copyright-protecting rootkit technology. The EC meanwhile got itsname on the list "for its inability to get through one year without producing yet another piece of intellectual property legislation."

Russia and the UK presidency of the European Union were also nominated as villains. Russia was pulled up "for failing to deal with illegal websites and online abuse hosted within its borders," while the UK presidency of the EU was attacked "for seeking EU wide data retention laws which will force ISPs and telcos to retain more data for longer without proper impact assessment."

APIG was nominated for the Internet Hero Award for its "recommendations to amend the Computer Misuse Act (CMA) to further protect individual websites and the infrastructure of the Internet against the threat of distributed denial-of-service attacks," ISPA said in a statement.

Ofcom was praised for "recognising its role in ensuring that Service Providers deliver on their quality of service promises to end-users," and for "not wrecking the 0845 regime used to access pay-as-you-go Internet services."

Ofcom proposed alterations to the Number Translation Services (NTS) market in April 2005 that ISPA believed would affect the relationship between ISPs’ customer support departments and their customers. Ofcom did not push through the changes.

GetSafeOnline, an online security initiative by the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) sponsored by private business and public funds, was nominated by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) for a separate security award. The initiative was put forward for "raising public awareness of online safety issues and providing home users and small businesses with reliable, up-to-date information about using the Internet safely."

The NHTCU was criticised earlier this year for the lack of ISP involvement in GetSafeOnline.

Internet hero nominations also went to the Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator "for helping to develop new local loop unbundling products and processes," and IWF chair Roger Darlington "for his hard work." Darlington will retire this year.

Viviane Reding, an EU Commissioner, was nominated for a villain award "for the revision of the TV without Frontiers Directive which threatens ISPs by extending the scope of broadcasting regulation to content delivered via the Internet, in a market which is not yet fully developed."

Winners will be announced in February.

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