The Guardian has finally spoken up about its awarding of “Innovator of the Year” to Austin Heap. Much credit to Charles Arthur for getting this story up, but I can’t say I’m all too impressed with Guardian News & Media’s head of media and tech:
Asked to comment, Steve Busfield, head of media and technology for Guardian News & Media (GNM), who chaired the 2010 MEGAS judging panel, said: “The MediaGuardian Innovator of the Year award is presented each year to someone who the judges consider has had the greatest impact on innovation in the media in the past 12 months. Austin Heap was chosen as this year’s winner as a result of his vision and unique approach to tackling a huge problem. It was his inventiveness and bravery which the judges sought to reward, rather than the Haystack software itself.”
As my friend Rebekah Heacock puts it, Austin Heap was awarded for his audacity, not for any actual innovation on his part.
The rest of the piece is quite good, touching on some of the most scathing criticism of Haystack by Appelbaum and Morozov. Interestingly, Arthur also notes:
Earlier this week the Guardian sent a list of questions about Haystack and its security to Heap; he said he would respond but missed his own deadline to do so, and had not responded despite a reminder as this article was written. At the time of writing, Heap has not updated his Twitter feed since Tuesday.
I’m sure Heap is being bombarded from numerous angles, but it’s interesting to me that he wouldn’t respond to the Guardian, arguably the magazine that brought him the most attention in the first place.