This Week In Techdirt History: December 13th – 19th

from the then-and-now dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, the clueless press was still letting itself get played and suggesting that encryption played a role in the San Bernardino attacks, while congress was dropping all pretense and turning CISA into a full-on surveillance bill, which they then crammed into the must-pass government funding bill (which also included some other nonsense). It got support of confused congressmen and a promise-breaking White House then — despite being terrible for privacy — it predictably passed.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, the clueless press was playing the mark for a different scam and continuing to rely on bogus research about file sharing, but the main source of panic and confusion on the scene was still Wikileaks, and we argued America’s reaction was doing far more harm than the leaks themselves and was probably just about overhyping online threats to pass new laws. The Congressional Research Service was pointing out the obstacles to criminally charging Assange and complaining about being blocked from accessing Wikileaks itself by the panicked government (and the Air Force went further the same week, blocking access to news sites reporting on Wikileaks as well), and the staff of Columbia Jounralism School was warning the president that prosecuting Wikileaks would set a dangerous precedent. But the government decided to look into the possibility of CFAA charges anyway. There was a slight bit of uplifting and surprising news though, when congressional hearings on Wikileaks turned out to be not entirely stupid.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, an emerging conversation about traffic shaping was paving the way for a net neutrality fight, with the most worrying aspect being that FCC chairman Kevin Martin was apparently prepared to give the telcos everything they wanted. Congress was doing its own kowtowing, this time to Hollywood, and serving up exactly the legislation the entertainment industry wanted, while the music business was getting mad at Apple for the DRM it had a huge hand in pushing for — and we talked about how copy protection stalls innovation. HarperCollins was spending a lot of money to scan its own books for no obvious reason beyond spiting Google, the MPAA was suing someone for sharing movies it couldn’t actually find on his computer, and one band was dealing with Sony’s DRM failure by sending their fans burned replacement CDs with no copy protection.

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