This Week In Techdirt History: January 10th – 16th

from the the-less-things-change dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2011, much of the news on the Wikileaks front was centered on Twitter, which the government had ordered to reveal information on people connected with the site. This drew the ire of Iceland officials (among others), and not unlike the recent domain seizures, the government’s approach was full of mistakes. But, at least, we learned that Twitter would stand up for its users rights. Of course, that wasn’t the only attack Wikileaks faced: customs officers were intimidating Wikileaks volunteers, a congressional rep was asking the Treasury Department to put the site on the terrorist list (a request that was thankfully refused), and one bold man from Florida was suing Wikileaks for personal distress. On the flipside, the EFF was debunking the myth that the leaked cables didn’t help anything while On The Media was seeking out the anonymous senator who killed a recent whistleblowing bill and the press at large was starting to realize that Bradley Manning was being tortured.

Also of note this week in 2011, we covered the beginnings of a now-infamous incident when Sony got a restraining order against George Hotz for jailbreaking the PS3.

Ten Years Ago

Netflix was the unstoppable giant this week in 2006, and it was still just focused on mailing DVDs — which unscrupulous postal workers would occasionally steal. The main victim, however, was clearly going to be Blockbuster. Google was trying to wow the world with a new online video offering, but it was sadly all about copy protection and not very impressive. MySpace revealed that it had its own video strategy in the works, which explained why it had recently started blocking YouTube. This dismal state of affairs even led some to wonder if AOL was the one with the most interesting and innovative video offering. That title certainly didn’t belong to the world of mobile TV, which was wrecked by fragmentation and walled gardens like so much mobile content.

Meanwhile, efforts were still underway to plug the analog hole, and Tim Lee pointed out that the most insidious effect might come from the exception for so-called “professional” equipment. We bemoaned the fact that DRM was still endearing itself to artists as Sony’s CEO attempted to brush off the recent rootkit fiasco.

Fifteen Years Ago

In these early days of 2001, calls for regulating the internet were much simpler — and even more absurd. Case in point: one novelists request that everything online be officially labelled as “true” or not. Case in point the second: a legislative attempt to deem the actions of spiders and other online bots as “trespassing”. But hey, this was a time when one of the biggest intellectual property questions on the internet was the legality of “framing” content from other sites. Blogs, which were still often given their forgotten full name of weblogs, were still new enough that a different news organization would “discover” them every few weeks, leading to strange ideas like blog-based print magazines.

Also this week in 2001: we heard the very first murmurs of what would grow into immense hype about “IT”, also known as “Ginger”. Remember that? Yeah, it turned out to be the Segway. Hurrah.

Eighty-Nine Years Ago

With all the obligatory and uninteresting hype surrounding the recently-announced Oscar nominations, perhaps it’s worth noting that the Academy was founded on January 11th, 1927 by Louis B. Mayer and a room of his 36 hand-picked guests. If I understand correctly, those people all became immortal in their 60s and continue to choose every Oscar winner to this day.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: January 10th – 16th”

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Roger Strong (profile) says:

This Would Make a Great Comedy

Case in point: one novelists request that everything online be officially labelled as “true” or not.

That article has a new URL. And it just keeps getting funnier over time.

> Government regulation is admittedly imperfect and often infuriating; but it must at least try to work toward the public good, or its authors will lose their power. Corporate regulation, on the other hand, knows only one purpose: profit
I do not see the government playing a moral role so much as a verification and attribution assurance role
We must have new verification and attribution statutes that are vigorously enforced by empowered agencies, with real punishments for violators.

Forget the fundamental problems here: Grey areas, half-truths, inability to verify claims and the inability for even experts to agree on many claims. And the breaking news problem: Reporters, bloggers and others want their stories online within minutes, let alone days. The government’s verification and attribution assurance organization would have to be VERY responsive.

Where this gets REALLY funny is when you imagine the system working perfectly.

Imagine reporting or commenting on recent party debates in the American Presidential election. Every statement – in video or text – stamped with TRUE or FALSE. With real punishments for those who get it wrong.

Imagine requesting government verification and attribution assurance on all the Wikileaks or Snowden documents, again, in a system that works perfectly.

Imagine a web site that tracks changes – all the things the government verified as false, now verified as true after a leak.

Imagine statements by government officials on domestic spying, back-doored encryption, the TPP and asset forfeiture, quickly vetted as true or false, the results backed by a government agency.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Everything Online Must Be Labelled As “True” Or Not ...

Even Techdirt has trouble with paradoxes.

My belt holds up my pants. But my pants have loops that hold up my belt. “This Week In Techdirt History” never mentions the field day it had mocking this radical new technology with it appeared 4000 years ago.

charliebrown (profile) says:

That article is obsolete

to assemble massive amounts of information, of arcane minutia, without simultaneously teaching them how to assemble those bits of information into integrated bodies of knowledge

At the time he did not have Wikipedia, which took those massive amounts of information and made them into an integrated body of knowledge. Wikipedia launched in 2006, almost exactly five years after that article was written. Therefore that article is obsolete.

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