This Week In Techdirt History: October 21st – 27th

from the back-in-the-day dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2013, the latest NSA leak showed that the agency grabbed data on 70 million French phone calls in less than 30 days, leading James Clapper to play word games in issuing a denial, while the White House was trying to assuage Angela Merkel with a dodgy promise that they are not and will not monitor her phone calls (no word on the past, though). Government officials were continuing their long history of calling journalists traitors for reporting on the leaks, while Keith Alexander said the government needs to find a way to stop them. And Dianne Feinstein was trying to paint metadata gathering as not true surveillance, garnering a direct rebuttal from Ed Snowden. Also, we learned the Senate was sitting on a devastating report about CIA torture

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2008, while the EFF and ACLU were asking news networks to stop sending DMCA notices over political ads, we were wondering whether this experience would prompt either McCain or Obama to support DMCA reform. The RIAA was establishing “vexatious” as its new favorite word to lob at its critics and opponents, and a really dumb ISP takedown of a record label showed why ISPs shouldn’t be copyright cops.

Meanwhile, we had a big failure at Techdirt that wiped out half a day’s worth of comments, but were saved by archives from the comment search engine BackType (which would go on to be acquired by Twitter in 2011).

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2003, critics were rebelling against the MPAA’s ban on screener DVDs, leading the association to finally back down a bit — though not on Jack Valenti’s crowing about the moral obligation to stop piracy, or the association’s new program to brainwash school children with its copyright maximalism which finally launched this week. Two different writers in the same newspaper reached opposite conclusions about the same study on file sharing, while others debated whether iTunes would put a dent in it, and we wondered if the entertainment industry’s many copyright initiatives were a way of starting so many fights about complex policy that their opponents appear to be crying wolf.

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