Web group honors Wyden, Issa

The Internet Association is giving its first annual Congressional Internet Freedom Award to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

The trade organization, which counts Internet giants like Google, AOL and Facebook among its members, said the two lawmakers deserve the honor for their support of a free and open Web.

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“Senator Wyden and Representative Issa are champions of Internet freedom and the innovation economy. These awards are a well-deserved recognition of their unwavering leadership and longtime support of pro-Internet policies," Michael Beckerman, the association’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “We are grateful for their support of our industry, the fastest growing economic sector in the world.” 

In a statement, Issa said that he was honored to receive the award.

“A free and open Internet is critical for not only innovation and job growth in America, but also for the democratic process,” he said. “I will continue to advocate for the Internet users and policies that empower them.”

Issa is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has stood in defense of the Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide last year while under federal investigation.

Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has been a prominent critic of government surveillance programs, which many tech groups have also opposed, and he recently introduced a bill to protect an open Internet in trade deals. 

The Internet Association is a relatively young trade group that hired its first lobbyists last March. Since that time, it has been active on data security, patent reform and other issues.

The awards will be presented at the groups’ Girls Who Code gala in April.