ISPs name U.K. government ‘internet villain’

The U.K. government was named "internet villain" of the year last night by a panel of ISPs for its push to have stringent European laws enacted on data retention.

The Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) gave the award to the U.K. after its vigorous campaign for new legislation that would require telecom operators and ISPs to store phone and internet data records of their subscribers for two years. ISPs are worried about the costs of managing the data.

"The U.K. presidency of the European Union received this award for seeking EU-wide data retention laws which will force ISPs and telcos to retain more data for longer without proper impact assessment," said an ISPA spokesperson in a statement.

The measures were proposed after the London terrorist bombing in July of last year, and the U.K. governement pushed hard for the new laws. The EU Parliament ratified the legislation on Tuesday. Countries within the EU have until August 2007 to implement the directive.

The ISPA also awarded its internet hero award to the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) for its work on updating the Computer Misuse Act.

An ISPA spokesperson said, "The All Party Parliamentary Internet Group received this award for its recommendations to amend the Computer Misuse Act (CMA) to further protect individual websites and the infrastructure of the internet against the threat of distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks."

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