UK bags Villain of the Internet award

UK bags Villain of the Internet award

The annual Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) awards have proved unwelcome news for the British government.

The UK's presidency of the European Union has won the ISPA Internet Villain award for 2006 following its demand for extended data retention laws in the wake of the 7 July bombings.

Downing Street pushed hard for the laws to be implemented across Europe, and the legislation was approved by the European Parliament in December. The Council of European Ministers gave its approval on Tuesday and member states have until 2007 to implement the laws locally.

"The UK Presidency of the European Union received this award for seeking EU wide data retention laws which will force ISPs and telcos to retain more data for longer without proper impact assessment," said an ISPA spokesman.

Under the laws ISPs will have to store all communications by their subscribers for two years, and companies will have to have to do the same for all internet activity and telephone calls, although the content of calls will not be recorded.

The UK government was up against some strong competition for the award. Sony BMG was a finalist for its failed rootkit DRM software, and Russia was nominated for its attitude to web freedom.

However, it was not all bad news for the UK. The All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) won the Internet Hero award for its "sensible and reasoned approach to internet legislation" . APIG has been pushing for a new law to make denial of service attacks a crime.

"The APIG received this award for its recommendations to amend the Computer Misuse Act to further protect individual websites and the infrastructure of the internet against the threat of distributed denial-of-service attacks," said the ISPA spokesman.