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EDITIONS
 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 11:30 GMT
UK net villains nominated
David Blunkett, BBC
The Home Office faced protests over net snooping
The Home Office and the BBC's Watchdog TV programme have been nominated as the internet villains of 2002.

The government department won the nomination for delaying changes to the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and for introducing another law that imposes a burden on net firms.

Watchdog won its nomination for a programme about spam, unsolicited e-mail, that castigated net firms and did little to educate consumers.

The pair are among the five organisations shortlisted as villains by the UK's Internet Service Providers' Association which represents the country's net connection firms.

Good guys, bad guys

According to the Association, the shortlist mentions those organisations or individuals who have done the most to hamper and harm the net industry in the UK.

The Home Office is a strong contender for the top villain slot because of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill.

A major section of the RIP Act is being redrafted following a public revolt over its proposals to give hundreds of public authorities access to records of where people go on the web and who they send e-mail to.

The redrafted parts of the bill are being delayed which has caused headaches for net firms.

Nicky Campbell, BBC
Watchdog: blamed spam on net firms
The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security bill imposes further burdens on net providers by forcing them to store large amounts of data about customers for long periods of time while providing little recompense for the task.

Watchdog won its nomination for a campaign about spam, unsolicited e-mail, that berated net providers but did little to tackle the root causes of the problem.

Other nominated villains included telecommunications watchdog Oftel, the Recording Industry Association of America and telecommunications analysts.

The latter won their nomination for their "substantial contribution" to the meltdown in the market values of many phone and net firms.

As well as picking the bad guys, ISPA has also released a shortlist of 2002's net heroes.

Nominations for hero of the year include ex-Information Commissioner Elizabeth France, Sheffield Hallam MP Richard Allan and Hugh Blunkett for telling his father what a bad idea it was to extend snooping powers to hundreds of public bodies.

Also nominated is Home Office civil servant Simon Watkin who has worked tirelessly as a go-between for the technology industry and the Home Office.

The award winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on the 20 February, 2003.

See also:

04 Sep 02 | Science/Nature
24 Jun 02 | dot life
26 Jul 02 | Entertainment
11 Sep 02 | Entertainment
18 Nov 02 | Technology
20 Aug 02 | Technology
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