THE INTERNET Service Provider's Association (ISPA) has crowned infamous lawyer Andrew Crossley as the Internet Villain for 2011.
Crossley earned the highly contested award over the "speculative invoicing" of his law firm ACS:Law, which targeted suspected illegal filesharers in a large campaign that ultimately ended with the firm dropping the charges and ceasing operation. He was particularly criticised for bringing the legal profession into disrepute and for his paltry data protection practices.
Crossley did not attend the awards or respond to his invitation – we're not sure why – but the ISPA promised to deliver his award to him.
An altogether different lawyer, Mark Stephens, who defended Wikileaks whistleblower Julian Assange, gave the opening speech at the event, where he spoke about the importance of freedom of speech on the internet.
The Internet Villain award was won last year by Lord Mandelson for "ignoring principles of better regulation to amend an open consultation following lobbying from an interest group".
A villain is nothing without a hero, so the ISPA also gave out its Internet Hero award, this time to Professor Ian Hargreaves, who wrote a report on how to make intellectual property more suitable for the digital age.
He was unable to attend, possibly because he was engaged in an epic battle with his arch-nemesis, but Nigel Hickson collected the award on his behalf.
This award was won last year by Tom Watson, MP, and others who voted against the extremely unpopular Digital Economy Bill.
Other winners at the prestigious event included Be Broadband as the Best Consumer Fixed Broadband, the second year in a row, Three as the Best Mobile Broadband, Eclipse Internet as the Best Dedicated Hosting, Netcetera as the Best Shared Hosting, and Entanet as Best Internet Telephony.
The UK Internet Industry Awards, otherwise known as the ISPAs, have been running for 13 years, a number which has proven to be very unlucky for Andrew Crossley. µ
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