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Internet Villain face-off: Spy queen Theresa May v Twit-hate Turkish PM

Find out who won best-baddie gong at Blighty's annual ISP awards bash

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And so to Piccadilly, London, where the great, the good and the downright drunk and rowdy gathered for the 15th Internet Service Providers' Association awards - which this year saw the title of Internet Villain handed to Mr Censorship AKA Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

But Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May - whose controversial Communications Data Bill has been pilloried by telcos, privacy campaigners and Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - missed out on the accolade, after being shortlisted for the gong.

May may not be considered so much of a threat anymore, however. After all, Clegg eventually (and almost certainly temporarily) silenced the Home Sec by rejecting her plans to push through legislation to massively ramp up surveillance of UK citizens' internet activity.

Meanwhile, Erdogan became a clear contender for the award after recently labelling social networks a "menace to society" for supposedly spreading misinformation, or rather information that he really didn't want Turkish people to share with the world.

Last month, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul to attack government plans to demolish a public park to build a shopping centre. And news and rumours about the marches quickly spread on Twitter, thereby galvanising protests across Turkey, which prompted Erdogan to claim that "the best examples of lies can be found" on the micro-blogging site.

Blaming the interwebs for society's ills and spills is wicked, according to the ISPA judges*, and apparently much worse behaviour than the other nominees on the list: America's super-snoop PRISM programme, Deep Packet Inspection outfit Bluecoat for selling the kit to questionable regimes and the aforementioned May and her dastardly super-snoop plans.

As ever, the ISPA awards ceremony offered an antidote to the haters and hated by coming over all warm and fluffy about what the telco industry considered to be worthy internet hotshots.

This year, the finalists competing for that particular gold star were Clegg for successfully battling the Home Sec's Snoopers' Charter, Edward Snowden for blowing that whistle, Spamhaus for squishing a bloody massive DDoS attack and Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert - a politico who regularly tugged May's chain over the hated comms data bill.

And it woz Huppert wot won it.

On receiving the Internet Hero award, the MP told the crowd that it was important to have people like himself in the House of Commons who can actually grasp some of the policy issues that affect ISPs. He also warned that May's surveillance proposals could rise again, describing them as a "zombie bill".

Other winners on the night included: BSkyB for Best Consumer Fixed Broadband; Plusnet for Best Consumer Customer Service; Catalyst2 for Customer Choice Award and KC for Internet Safety & Security.

The Internet Watch Foundation missed out on a gong but was commended for its "integral" work at helping to "keep the internet safe".

Meanwhile, those inebriated sorts among the 300-strong guest list at the do appeared to have got a head start on everyone else by probably partaking in a bit of daytime drinking (you know who you are) - which might have been a wise decision given that the booze ran dry once the dishing out of awards process actually began.

It was the surprise alcohol rationing that led to the largest groan of the night, but it at least meant your correspondent didn't suffer a squiffy trip up the steps to dish out the award for Best Business Fixed Broadband to wholesale ISP Entanet. ®

* Full disclosure: I was one of the judges at this year's awards ceremony, but I had no involvement in selecting the Internet Villain and Hero winners.

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