The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) in the UK has awarded home secretary Theresa May with “Web’s No. 1 Villain” title.
ISPA is a lobbying group, which represents Microsoft, Google, AOL and Internet-service providers in Britain. The group selected May for this not-so-famous award for her support to the “Snooper’s Charter” and not consulting the civil society and industry on this issue.
Tech and telecom companies in Britain are worried with May’s plans of revising the British laws to give more powers to security agencies to track terrorist and criminals. Snooper’s Charter is an investigatory powers bill that has been revised a number of times in the past. Earlier versions of this bill had provisions of asking tech companies and carriers to store more user data, including users’ browsing history as well as their social media usage data.
“With an investigatory powers bill due before parliament in the coming months, it is essential that ISPs are consulted.” the ISPA states.
The association thinks May is “forging ahead with communications data legislation that would significantly increase capabilities without adequate consultation with industry and civil society.”
May’s office has refused to comment on the ISPA’s award.
According to Andrew Kernahan, ISPA’s public affairs manager, the industry wants a debate on this issue and is interested in knowing what the government actually wants.
Kernahan thinks the Home Office doesn’t seem to be interested in that debate and has “proceeded in a pretty backroom way.”
Earlier this year, May had argued that a Snooper’s Charter is “necessary” for safety and security of the people.
“It is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers, without also understanding the threats.” May said last month.
Privacy advocates, however, argue that a bill like Snooper’s Charter goes too far.
Every society needs some hero too, and therefore MPs David Davis and Tom Watson were adjudged the joint winner of internet “hero” award for this year. They were considered “hero” for their legal actions against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.
A statement from ISPA read: “Surveillance has dominated both the hero and villain shortlists for number of years, and it was felt Davis and Watson were some of the best informed politicians on the subject.”
John Souter, chief executive of Linx, the London Internet Exchange, received a special 20th anniversary award for his long service to the UK internet industry.