[LINK] Conroy beats Sarkozy for Internet Villain of the Year award

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Mon Jul 13 16:11:13 AEST 2009

Conroy beats Sarkozy for Internet Villain of the Year award
by Davey Winder  
Sunday, 12 July 2009

Controversial Australian politician Stephen Conroy has picked up an 
online Oscar for his starring role as Internet villain of the year, but 
let's not forget the supporting cast: the Australian Government.

The 11th annual Internet Industry Awards ceremony was hosted by the 
Internet Service Providers' Association in London this week. The ISPA is 
the UK's Trade Association for ISPs and the awards ceremony has become 
something of an Oscars for the online world.

Stephen Michael Conroy was actually born in England, but has found fame 
(or should that be infamy) as an Australian politician. Specifically for 
his role as the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital 
Economy in the Australian Government.

The Internet censorship policies which were pitched as protective 
measures for children in the face of online pornography, have actually 
ended up painting a much broader filtering landscape. Indeed, so broad 
are the censorship brush strokes that they include revolting and 
abhorrent phenomena that offends standards of morality. Whatever that means.

And so it was that the ISPA opted to include an award category where a 
number of individuals and organisations could be nominated for their 
hard work in upsetting the Internet industry, hampering its development 
and ending up being hated by the online masses.

Conroy, naturally enough, was a favourite to win from the start. 
However, he was up against stiff competition including the European 
Parliament for supporting an amendment to the Telecom Package on cookies 
which could bring the Internet to a standstill.

Other shortlisted nominees included French President Nicolas Sarkozy for 
his commitment to the HADOPI law which advocates a system of graduated 
response, despite repeated arguments suggesting the law is 
disproportionate from the likes of the European Parliament.

However, on the night it was Stephen Conroy along with the entire 
Australian Government which picked up the award (or rather didn't as 
Conroy did not attend for some strange reason) for their work in 
continuing to promote network-level blocking despite significant 
national and international opposition.

Usually I heartily disagree with the judges when it comes to handing out 
Oscars, but the ISPA has got this one spot on. Couldn't have gone to a 
more deserving chap.

In case you wondered, the Internet Hero of the Year award went to the 
Featured Artists Coalition for publicly recognising 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. Nice!


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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