This Week In Techdirt History: February 3rd – 9th

from the back-then dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, the Snowden revelations continued with information like the NSA and FBI getting access to 40,000 Yahoo and Google accounts in the first half of 2013, and the GCHQ trying to hit Anonymous with a DDoS attack, while some new FOIA documents got us a closer look at how surveillance info is laundered via “parallel construction”. Germany’s Chaos Computer Club filed a criminal complaint against the German government over mass surveillance, while a Belgian prosecutor began looking into reports that the NSA and GCHQ hacked a well-known Belgian cryptographer. Meanwhile, Mike Rogers was trying to argue that Glenn Greenwald should be prosecuted for ‘selling stolen material’, Benjkamin Wittes was arguing that it’s okay for the agency to deny spying on Americans, even if it does, and the DOJ was admitting that the NSA’s phone record collection probably included congress.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, a researcher predicted that technology was going to render copyright completely obsolete within a year or so. This did not, of course, come true — but it’s easy to see where it came from, even just given the copyright absurdity happening that very week. The EU was considering a draconian copyright proposal not unlike today’s reform directive, the RIAA hired a new litigation boss with a history of ‘misstating facts’ in court while the DOJ was packing its ranks with entertainment and software industry lawyers, there was a proposal for new ACTA provisions that would criminalize non-commercial infringement, Blizzard successfully abused copyright to go after World Of Warcraft bots, and the Associated Press began demanding money for the photo that was the basis of Shepard Fairey’s famous Obama poster.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2004, the EFF and other groups had noticed some dangerous corner-cutting in the RIAA’s latest round of mass lawsuits, while the agency also appeared to be struggling to force its narrative about piracy onto the Morpheus/Grokster trial. The MyDoom virus was wreaking some havoc, causing Microsoft to set up an alternative website and, of course, causing antivirus companies to push massive damage estimates for reporters to uncritically repeat. One prediction piece about 3D printers may have jumped the gun slightly by saying they were closer than most people thought, but another was prescient in predicting that user-created video is the killer app for broadband, or at least wise to catch on to the fact that the internet is about connecting and communicating, not consuming a broadcast.

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