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Can you guess which UK politician was named ‘internet villain of the year’?

A lobbying group that represents big-names like Google, Microsoft, and AOL, has named and shamed the person it regards as the internet’s worst enemy.

According to the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), the UK’s home secretary Theresa May is the ‘web’s number one villain’.

May was dubbed the winner (or perhaps loser) of the annual award for “forging ahead with communications data legislation that would significantly increase capabilities without adequate consultation with industry and civil society.”

The ISPA continued: “With an investigatory powers bill due before parliament in the coming months, it is essential that ISPs are consulted.”

The Home Secretary is notoriously in favour of the ‘Snooper’s Charter’, an investigatory powers bill that’s been reworked several times.

Earlier versions of the bill would have forced service providers to store more data on users, including browsing history and social media data.

may
Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, and the internet’s greatest enemy, apparently…

“The industry wants to take stock and say, what is it that you actually need, what is it that you actually want,” explains Andrew Kernahan, ISPA’s public affairs manager.

He adds: “The Home Office has not wanted to do that and proceeded in a pretty backroom way.”

May’s office has reportedly declined to comment on the Home Secretary’s award.

However, back in June she was quoted as saying: “It is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers, without also understanding the threats.”

Moreover, earlier this year May argued that a Snooper’s Charter is “necessary” to keep us “safe and secure”.

Related: Best Web Browser 2015

ISPA’s awards weren’t all bad news however, with MPs Tom Watson and David Davis winning a joint gong for this year’s internet “hero”.

That’s thanks to their legal action against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.

“Surveillance has dominated both the hero and villain shortlists for a number of years, and it was felt Davis and Watson were some of the best informed politicians on the subject.”

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