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Home Office up for Internet Villain hat-trick

It's the one award in the industry that nobody wants to win, and so the Home Office is gallantly stepping into the breach for the third year running
Written by Matt Loney, Contributor
The Home Office has made it onto the short list for Internet Villain at the ISPAs - the most unwanted award in the Internet industry's calendar.

If it wins, the Home Office will take away the award for the third year in a row -- not something that most organisations would be proud of. Critics may point out that the department has done little work to deserve another nomination: this year, it made the shortlist for "the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act and demonstrating a lack of responsiveness to the Internet industry’s concerns about data retention." Previous years have seen the Home Office nominated for similar issues: the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

Other nominees competing with the Home Office are arguably more contentious. The Broadband Stakeholders' Group has gained a nomination for "being beset by a minority of interests, achieving little with their Government funding and not appropriately representing the true broadband industry".

Meanwhile Derek Wyatt, Labour MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, has been nominated "for lowering level of informed debate on the Internet generally and spam in particular". Wyatt, who chairs the All-party Parliamentary Internet Group, last summer called for stricter controls over ISPs in an effort to stem the flow of spam.

He said ISPs should be made responsible for any unsolicited emails received by their subscribers from pornography sites, and should be licensed by the government.

VeriSign has won a nomination "for the presumption that it owns the Internet and the domain name system hijacking scandal", and the Recording Industry Association of America "for threatening to involve a 12-year-old girl in a court action".

The Internet Services Providers' Association's awards will be presented on 19 February at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London.

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