This Week In Techdirt History: November 18th – 23rd

from the thanks-for-the-memories dept

While we’re off for the Thanksgiving long weekend, we’re shuffling things around a little bit — so even though it’s Friday, here’s the weekly history post! We’ll be back to our regular posting schedule on Monday.

Five Years Ago

This week in 2013, the USTR was trying to defend the TPP following the leak of the IP chapter, by claiming it was the most transparent trade negotiation in history (an announcement made from a Hollywood studio) and telling the lie that it is no different from US law. Then, while Bloomberg was suggesting that the utter lack of transparency could kill the deal, another leak happened and we got to see the copyright maximalist talking points regarding the leaked IP chapter.

Meanwhile, new leaks and declassified documents were giving us more information about the NSA, including more abuse of bulk email collection and the exploitation of pen register statutes, plus a surveillance deal with the UK’s GCHQ. The DOJ was resisting the FISA court order to reveal the feds’ secret interpretation of the PATRIOT Act, leading the court to demand an explanation. And more internet companies were moving to up their security in response to NSA meddling, with Yahoo working on encrypting all data center traffic and Twitter implementing forward secrecy. There was still a lot of work to do at a lot of companies though, as illustrated by a handy scorecard from the EFF (which would have a lot more checkmarks today than it did then, so I guess we can call that a silver lining to the government compromising tech companies).

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2008, we were beginning to learn more about the soon-to-be-famous Joel Tenenbaum case over the RIAA’s music sharing lawsuits, most notably its all-star witness list. At the same time, another racketeering lawsuit was filed against the agency over its threat letters, but we weren’t optimistic about it going anywhere. And the RIAA also convinced Tennessee to pass a law forcing universities to filter their networks.

Meanwhile, a judge threw out Psytar’s antitrust claims against Apple, a German politician’s attempt to block Wikipedia initiated the Streisand Effect, an Australian ISP was agreeing to the government’s filtering plan just to collect data on how bad it was, and Nintendo was cruelly trying to prevent the resale of used Wii peripherals.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2003, the war on spam and scams continued, with the House and the Senate reaching a compromise on anti-spam legislation (definitely better than one senator’s proposed tax on every email you send), while the DOJ announced that since October it had arrested 125 people for online scamming and other online crimes — though we had some serious questions about that, since they seemed to be flinging a lot of stuff under the umbrella of “cybercrimes” without good reason, such as a guy who replied to spam with angry, threatening emails. Perhaps a better strategy was the newly-emerging sport of 419 baiting.

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