This Week In Techdirt History: November 11th – 17th

from the then-and-now dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2013, we learned more about the UK’s GCHQ and its use of a packet injection attack to hack an internet exchange, garnering a combined response of “no comment but by the way that would be totally legal” from the agency. John McCain said in an interview that Keith Alexander should be fired (for the wrong reasons) then nonsensically denied the comments. And while the author of the PATRIOT act was telling the EU Parliament that the NSA is out of control, some people were looking at the agency’s customer list and noticing that its denials of economic espionage were suspect at best.

Meanwhile, this was also the week that the the TPP’s IP chapter leaked for the first time, and it was as bad as expected (and even worse than ACTA). Law professors called on Obama to open up the TPP process while Congress was showing signs of being a bit more reluctant to grant fast track authority, and perhaps the most nefarious part of the chapter was its attempt to make copyright reform impossible.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2008, broadband providers were rolling out usage caps and patronizingly advertising the number of emails that could be sent under the limits, while the industry’s apologists pushed the narrative that there was a growing bandwidth crunch (there wasn’t). The EU was giving bogus excuses for keeping ACTA secret while another bad copyright deal, the Broadcasting Treaty, was apparently coming back from the dead again. China officially recognized the concept of internet addiction and it was quickly used as a defense in a murder trial. And the FBI’s expensive crusade to catch the leakers of the Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy ended ignominiously with a blogger pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2003, as we marked the 20th anniversary of the computer virus, and internet advertising started recovering from an early collapse, it was beginning to look like a lot of ’90s promises about the internet were beginning to arrive, just a little late. Not every offering was impressive, of course, such as Sprint’s introduction of TV on mobile phones… at two framers per second. People were blaming Microsoft for the failure of one new product category that wouldn’t take off until Apple stepped in several years later: tablet computers. But there was also a new, curious and exciting trend on the rise, referred to sometimes as “social software” and sometimes “social networking”. As you know, it never really took off.

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