A Look Back In Techdirt History

from the how-quickly-the-time-goes-by dept

Here we are again with another look back in Techdirt history.

Five Years Ago:

As we've noted, sometimes these look backs show that nothing ever changes. For example, one of our big stories five years ago was... the NSA abusing its surveillance powers. The NY Times revealed at the time that the NSA was collecting much more information on Americans than was allowed by law. And... basically no one paid attention. Similarly, we had a story about Swedish ISP Bahnhof deleting its log files to protect the privacy of its users. And -- just a week ago, we had nearly an identical story, as Bahnhof did it again, in response to a court ruling against the EU's data retention directive (which was put in place to stop ISPs like Bahnhof from protecting users privacy like that).

This was also the week five years ago that the Pirate Bay lost its big case in Sweden and Nicolas Sarkozy ramped up his efforts to pass a three strikes law. Of course, today the Pirate Bay is still going strong, and France's three strikes law has basically been killed off. Funny how these things work out.

We also had stories of people trying to use the DMCA for blatant censorship, including a news station trying to hide its own mistake and activist group trying to hide its fake political campaign (using actors instead of real people). Copyright as censorship is one of those issues that never changes. Also never changing: media dinosaurs acting like dinosaurs. Five years ago was when some big names in old media announced they were going to set up an "iTunes for news." That eventually turned into Journalism Online -- a paywall company that a bunch of newspapers now use (despite paywalls still failing to do much useful). Similarly, NBC was hard at work making it difficult to watch the Olympics online. Because NBC hates the internet.

Finally, we had a story of a patent troll claiming patents on basically every technology product ever and sneaky lobbyists who were hired to fight against patent reform using underhanded tricks to get "groups" that have nothing to do with patent reform (an anti-communist Hungarian group, the Minutemen (vigilante border guards), and various religious groups) to come out against patent reform. Basically, people in those groups then admitted that the lobbyists more or less tricked them into allowing their names to be used. My favorite was the 87-year old "honorary chairman" of the National Federation of American Hungarians, who had agreed to let the group's name be used but had no idea why he was against patent reform: "It was in Chicago or Detroit, I can't remember. Somebody brought this up, I don't know for what reason... So I gave them permission to use my name." And then he admitted his group was being disbanded anyway, because they were all dying, though he promised to get more information by "trying to reach the still living members of the board."

Ten Years Ago:

Back before there were copyright trolls like Prenda and Malibu Media shaking down people via legal threats, there was DirecTV's infamous program shaking down anyone who bought a smart card reader (even if for perfectly legal purposes). Ten years ago, we wrote about a former employee of their "anti-piracy" division speaking out about how it was all "an elaborate extortion scheme" and that he was suing the company because they forced him to do illegal and unethical things in shaking people down. Down in Australia, they were talking about making ISPs liable for copyright infringement. Yeah, some things never, ever change.

Also, ten years ago was the first we wrote about California state senator Leland Yee's quixotic attempt to ban violent video games. That, of course, eventually went to the Supreme Court and got completely shot down (just like about a dozen states before it). Yee wasted a ton of taxpayer money on this moralistic campaign and -- of course -- is now facing criminal charges for arms trafficking.

Then there are the more dated items that show how the world was different ten years ago. Amazon launched its A9 search engine to take down Google. We were all excited about the idea of navigation systems on phones! And they only cost $6 month! Also, people were freaking out about phones on airplanes, and a few phone makers had started testing out this ingenuous concept known as "airplane mode" to let flight attendants know the phone part wasn't on. Oh, and it was exciting to see that one-in-six Americans had used wireless internet technology.

Fifteen Years Ago:

People were trying to make a bundle of money by trademarking Y2K. The big trend in the computer world was ISPs giving away cheap free computers if you signed a long-term contract for internet service (such offerings were everywhere). In the era before smartphones, we were excited about the idea of "web phones." Also, people were writing off Mozilla for dead because Microsoft IE had won the browser wars. Okay, sometimes things do change.

One thing that never changes though, is sketchy activity online. Fifteen years ago this week, we wrote about the sex.com domain name being stolen -- a saga that went on for many years, and an entire book was eventually written about it. Also typosquatters were hitting the scene, and people were wondering if it was trademark infringement. Also, in one of the earliest "stock scams" online, an employee of the company PairGain, created a fake webpage that looked like a story from Bloomberg news about a buyout attempt, posted it on a free Angelfire account (remember those guys?) -- and watched the stock shoot up. The employee was quickly arrested.

49 Years Ago:

We weren't publishing, but that's about when Moore's Law was coined following his prediction that the number of transistors on a chip would double every 18 to 24 months. The details of the "law" have shifted somewhat over time, but the basics have held true. Of course, it was also probably 48 years ago that people started fighting over when Moore's Law was obsolete.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2014 @ 2:29pm

    Pirate Mike Masnick loves to reminisce about the golden age of piracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Apr 19th, 2014 @ 5:00pm

    4900 Years Ago:
    Stonehenge's construction started with a new type of construction material. Previously, Woodhenge and Strawhenge both met unfortunate fates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Mr.Enlarged_Prostate, Apr 19th, 2014 @ 7:05pm

    Owners Privilege

    The reason nothing changes is because that's how our owners want it.
    I can't believe you haven't figured that out by now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Apr 19th, 2014 @ 7:07pm

    Re:

    Wouldn't that be Brickhenge?

    Anyway, I love the stinger of XX Years Ago at the ends of these lately.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2014 @ 4:39am

    Re:

    reminisce ... is that the biggest word in your monolingual vocabulary?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2014 @ 4:43am

    Re: Owners Privilege

    No, they want to change things for the worse. How else do politicians expect to get their campaign contributions and revolving door favors if they don't expand copy protection lengths even more?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2014 @ 5:20am

    Leland Yee's Attitude.

    Nothing promotes violence like video games. Anybody wanna buy a gun?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Apr 20th, 2014 @ 5:53am

    Re: Re:

    Bricks were still under patent and trademark. The Druids didn't want to invent lawyers to fight the case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2014 @ 7:18am

    You are fucken brainless morons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 20th, 2014 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    average_joe just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 20th, 2014 @ 11:44am

    Re:

    Is that the new password to the Premium Chicken Club?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    jH (profile), Apr 20th, 2014 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Owners Privilege

    or is it in the genes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Eddie (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 5:12am

    Internet Privacy

    Americans Right to Privacy has solutions and I am anxious to share them with you. We offer secure, encrypted email, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which secures your computer's internet connection, to guarantee that all of the data you're sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes. Also a "Swiss Bank Account for your Data" Digital Safe! And we have rolled out Secure Swiss Web Hosting! Why secure your data in Switzerland? Because Switzerland is known for its strict data privacy laws, has no back door access to encryption for any government agency, not even Switzerland itself
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    your computer, so can the criminals.
    There is data security, and then there is Swiss data security.
    www.americansrighttoprivacy.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Thrudd, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: the new password to the Premium Chicken Club

    What? You need a password for a sandwich now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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