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Oz comms minister cops Internet Villain jibe

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Australian communications minister Stephen Conroy's attempts to clean up the web Down Under have been officially recognised by British ISPs - with a nomination for their Internet Villain of the Year Award.

Conroy is cited in ISPA's annual boo-hiss list for "continuing to promote network-level blocking despite significant national and international opposition". The Australian government is pushing a blacklist of banned sites for ISPs to filter that includes dentists, online poker and religious material.

The gong will be presented at the annual ISPA Awards in London on 9 July.

Also nominated, for the second year running, is Nicolas Sarkozy, "for continued commitment to the HADOPI law, which advocates a system of graduated response, despite repeated arguments suggesting the law is disproportionate from a number of important groups including the European Parliament".

The European Parliament confusingly wins nods in both the Villain of the Year category - "for supporting an amendment to the Telecom Package on cookies which could yet bring the internet to a standstill" - and in the Hero of the Year category - "for rejecting by a significant majority an amendment to the Telecom Package designed to allow disconnection of users' internet connections for alleged copyright infringement without direct judicial oversight".

"Gordon Brown's representative on Earth", Baroness Vadera, cops a Villain nomination for brokering last summer's memorandum of understanding between ISPs and the record labels. ISPA reckons it was ineffective and excluded many of its members.

Apparent gradual improvement in relations with content industries is acknowledged in the Hero category however, with a nomination for the Featured Artists Coalition, "for recognising publicly that the focus of music companies should be the development of new business models for distributing content online rather than attempting to pass responsibility to ISPs to take action against users".

ISPA secretary general Nicolas Lansman said: "In the case of the Hero, ISPA aims to reward those who have really made a positive impact in this sector. As for the Internet Villain, this is a good natured look at the more controversial side of the industry and a definite 'must-do-better'." ®

Bootnote

A special Register Brown Nose of the Year Meta-award goes to ISPA for this entry in its Hero category:

Lord Carter - "For his attempt to bring a holistic view to government policy across the communications spectrum."

Pass the sickbag, Stephen.

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