In the last few weeks the massive surveillance machine that certain US agencies have become was revealed to the world. Predictably, governments and citizens alike were outraged at the sheer size and scope of the machine that the disclosures verified. But, according to many experts and laypersons alike, the revelations of these last few weeks are just a drop in the bucket.
The knee-jerk reactions of both the activist communities and the defenders of the surveillance machine prompted us here at VPNReviewz to start a new tradition, an annual Allies and Enemies of the Internet Award. And since the fiscal year is ending for many of the major governments around the world, we decided that the June – July period would be a good time to rate, review, and present our awards.
The Allied Awards will be presented in three categories, each having different qualifications. Here are the awards, the category criteria, and the category winner(s):
- Top Political Ally Award: This award will be presented to the government or politician that makes the most progress in protecting and preserving the freedom and integrity of the internet. This year two prospects were neck-in-neck, so sharing this distinction is the Rt Hon Nick Clegg (MP, Deputy Prime Minister,) and Julian Huppert, (MP,) for their roles in opposing and preventing the Communications Data Bill. A bill that would have allowed the UK government to actively spy on their citizens phone, internet, and other forms of electronic communications.
- Internet Citizenship Award: This award will go to the one person that, in the year, has the single largest positive contribution the internet. Whether it be through political policy, technological, or, (as is the case this year,) highlighting the needs that must be addressed. This year, the award will (obviously,) go to Edward Snowden. His outing of the US governments spying programs has certainly opened up a discussion that may affect the internet in all three criteria of this category.
- Corporate Internet Citizenship Award: This award is the same as the Internet Citizenship Award, but for Corporations. This year the award will be shared between Spamhaus, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. The two publications win here for the parts they played in the Snowden disclosures, and Spamhaus can take a big bow for protecting the internet from a globally scaled cyber-attack earlier this year.
Now, on to the Internet Enemies Awards:
- Enemy Of The State Award: This award will go to governments and politicians that are doing their level best to spy on us and stifle freedom on the internet. This year there were so many things that happened, but in the end the Rt Honorable Theresa May, (MP,) and Recep Erdogan, (the PM of Turkey,) will share this infamy. Ms. May for pushing the passage of the Communications Data Bill in spite of the unpopularity of it, and Mr. Erdogan for the pure ignorance he displayed when he condemned Social Media, and declared it a “menace to society.”
- Enemy To The Internet: This category will be for global contributions to stifling and choking off internet freedom. This category could be either a company, or an individual, but will probably usually be a company. The very first Enemy To the Internet Award goes to Blue Coat and all this subsidiaries. For their ethics in who they sell their technologies to. Their tech has been connected to regimes in the Mid-East that completely cut off internet accessibility.
- Enemy To The People: The government agency or company that whose contribution affects people individually, and on a global scale. This year our Enemy To The People is the US agency, the NSA. For their PRISM project. We have a feeling that eventually the PRISM project will prove to be much bigger than is already understood, it is only hoped that the revelation of this program will spark legitimate, meaningful, international discourse about where the lines of privacy invasion are more defined.
That’s it for our first annual Allies And Enemies of the Internet Awards. If you have suggestions for additional categories, or would like to make a nomination, send us a note via our Contact Page