Surveillance, privacy, broadband and cyber security all recognised at the ISPA Awards in Hero and Villain nominations

Donald Trump, Apple, the Internet troll, the Web Foundation, Mossack Fonseca, Jo Cherry QC MP and Sir Keir Starmer QC MP are amongst those shortlisted for Internet Hero and Villain at the 2016 ISPA Awards, the 18th UK Internet Industry Awards. The nominations, based on crowdsourced suggestions from the public with a final shortlist determined by the ISPA Council, recognise those who have done the most to help or hinder the Internet industry in the last twelve months. David Davis MP and Tom Watson MP were joint winners of the Internet Hero award last year with Home Secretary Theresa May MP named as Villain.

Internet Heroes

Once again surveillance and privacy are the dominant themes in this year’s awards. Jo Cherry and Keir Starmer MPs have been nominated for their sterling efforts to improve the Investigatory Powers Bill, as has their parliamentary colleague and chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Nicola Blackwood MP. The fundamental principle of encryption and customer privacy has been featured, with Apple nominated as a hero for its role in defending privacy, whilst the FBI are recognised as villains for undermining encryption.

The shortlist also goes beyond surveillance, recognising the Web Foundation for helping connect some of the most remote global communities, and to ThinkBroadband Editor, Andrew Ferguson, for years of tirelessly informing consumers about their broadband options.

Internet Villains

The Internet Villain shortlist is one of the most diverse ever. Donald Trump is nominated for famously calling on industry to ‘close down parts of the Internet’, showing a perceived complete lack of understanding of how the web works. Mossack Fonseca (of Panama Papers fame) are nominated for their poor cyber-security, TCYK LLP are nominated for their ‘speculative invoicing’ campaign aimed at alleged copyright infringers that an MP described as ‘ludicrous’. The “internet troll” is nominated too for making the Internet a hostile space for some people, completely overstep the bounds of reasonable behaviour and free speech. The FBI also receive a nomination for their efforts to undermine customer privacy and cyber security.

Announcing the shortlists, ISPA Secretary General Nicholas Lansman said “The Internet Hero and Villain awards go to those who have helped or hindered the Internet industry. These nominations, many from the public, reflect the importance of privacy, cyber security and great broadband and the work many MPs have done scrutinising the Investigatory Powers Bill. These awards are light-hearted in nature, but do contain a serious point, and I look forward to finding out who won in July.”

The ISPA Awards take place on 7th July 2016 at The Brewery in the City of London. There are sixty organisations nominated across the seventeen awards and the full shortlist can be seen here.

There are limited complimentary media places available at the awards and to express interest, please email

The 2016 Internet Hero shortlist

  • Nicola Blackwood MP – For her Committee’s report into the Investigatory Powers Bill, which contained sensible recommendations around encryption, equipment interference and a commitment to full cost recovery, to limit the Bill’s impact on the tech sector
  • Jo Cherry QC MP & Sir Keir Starmer QC MP – For their continued scrutiny of the Investigatory Powers Bill as the legislation passes through Parliament at a fast pace
  • Apple – For defending the fundamental principles of encryption and customer privacy
  • Andrew Ferguson, Editor, ThinkBroadband – for editing an invaluable resource that explains and maps out broadband to inform consumers
  • Web Foundation – For working to extend the basic right of connectivity to the 60% of the global population unable to connect to the internet and enjoy the myriad benefits of internet access

The 2016 Internet Villain shortlist

  • Donald Trump – For calling on industry to ‘close’ parts of the Internet
  • Mossack Fonseca – For demonstrating poor cyber security practices
  • The FBI – For attempting to undermine security by compelling technology companies to bypass existing security features
  • The Internet Troll’ –  For overstepping the bounds of free speech, threatening the principle of an Internet for all
  • TCYK LLP – For its heavy-handed ‘speculative invoicing’ campaign aimed at alleged copyright infringers

About the ISPA Awards

The 2016 ISPA Awards are the 18th Annual UK Internet Industry Awards and there are sixty companies nominated across seventeen categories. Vodafone are leading the way with 6 nominations and Catalyst2, Exa Networks, Hyperoptic and Storm Internet have 4. The full list of nominations can be found here.

The ISPA Awards sponsors are Arista Networks, AVSystem, DrayTek Magrathea, Ruckus, and Strategic Imperatives.