THE UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has awarded its 2014 gongs for biggest internet star and worst internet blaggard.
The annual awards, which actually reward heroes and villains, have a distinctly post-Snowden, post-PRISM flavour. Although the whistleblower was not awarded a gong himself, the Guardian newspaper, the channel through which the whistle was blown, picked up the hero award.
In these post-PRISM days it is perhaps no surprise that the villain of the year is the UK Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ), which is a posh way of saying, our national surveillance agency.
GCHQ did not attend the event and did not pick up its award. Big Brother Watch, a rights group, picked up the gong for the agency.
The Guardian did make the effort to attend, and presumably was glad to pick up its award for its "excellent reporting of mass surveillance programmes".
The ISPA congratulated all award recipients. "Congratulations to all last night's winners," said ISPA secretary general Nick Lansman. "The ISPA Awards are hugely diverse and highlight how diverse the UK internet industry is and the vital role it plays in the British economy."
While they are the most headline grabbing the internet hero and villain goings are not the only awards given out by ISPA and it does attempt to shine a light on best performing service providers.
Plusnet, for example, picked up the best fixed broadband award, and Hyperoptic, which picked up the best superfast broadband trophy, was commended for "delivering excellent speeds and performance in an increasing number of towns and cities".
Last year's internet villain was Turkey's infamous social networking opponent, prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The 2013 internet hero was Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert, a very vocal opponent of draconian, locked-down communications legislation. µ
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