This Week In Techdirt History: April 5th - 11th

from the the-style-at-the-time dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2015, we learned that the feds had been tracking international calls for much longer than we thought, via the DEA, for nearly a decade — in a program that would have continued were it not for Edward Snowden's NSA revelations. The discovery led quickly to a lawsuit by the EFF and Human Rights Watch. And speaking of Snowden, this was the week John Oliver famously interviewed him in Russia for a segment about surveillance on his show. We saw some other examples of surveillance too, like the revelation that the Baltimore PD had gone Stingray crazy and was instructed by the FBI to withhold information from the courts, and that the DHS had decided in 2009 that border patrol can search and copy people's devices on a whim.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2010, the patent office hired an economist to add some actual evidence to patent policy, and we wondered if a lot of the problems with software patents could be solved if they hired a team of "obviousness developers" too. We looked at how the DMCA is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech while in the UK, the House of Commons promised to ram through the Digital Economy Bill — and delivered. The whole thing was like a bad joke, and one ISP vowed not to abide by its rules.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2005, we were suggesting that the recording industry seize the opportunity to give people what they want and just sell nice, portable, standard MP3s — but of course, that didn't mean we wanted politicians stupidly stepping in to mandate a single music format. We noted the cultural importance of sharing music, and the fact that the internet is about communication not content. Meanwhile, it was interesting to see the unexpected secondary trends birthed by mobile phones: like watchmakers freaking out and plumbers doing good business fishing phones out of toilets — not to mention fake trends largely manufactured by the media, like "toothing" for sex partners via Bluetooth.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2020 @ 8:50pm

    Watchmakers freaking out makes sense - considering that watches are, by and large, considered a luxury item and thus first on the chopping block when superfluous expenses need to be trimmed.

    Hilariously, longtime Techdirt troll darryl insisted that smartwatches were stupid, because nobody "needed" a watch to tell them what their mobile phone was saying. Of course, he had no answer to why anyone would need a mobile phone to tell them what their watch was saying.

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

    • identicon
      Darryl, 12 Apr 2020 @ 3:26am

      Re: use of my name is copyrighted and trade marked

      Smart phones are not nearly as important as smart writers, for a technical blog.

      When will Techdirt write stories that actually help Americans? How can you all hate trump so much when he publicly saved the world from a pandemic? His miracle malaria cure has saved MILLIONS of lives and BILLIONS of jobs.

      Why are you so biased against our public savior who wants nothing but to serve other Americans? Are you devil worshipers?

      Happy Easter and God Bless Donald J. Trump, the magnificent.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2020 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      no answer to why anyone would need a mobile phone to tell them what their watch was saying.

      I'm not sure if you're just being facetious or are genuinely curious but the answer is quite simple:

      Nearly everyone carries a mobile phone which, among several other functions, tells the time, synced to NIST servers or at least servers synced to NIST, and for them a watch is just redundant. The mobile phone relegates watches to status symbols where there's no point in wearing one except to show off how much you can afford to spend on a watch. Watches that lack gold and diamonds are nothing but paperweights now.

      Assuming you're just trying to be incendiary, well, you do you I guess. But know that such behavior is really no better than the person you're trying to denigrate.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2020 @ 6:59pm

        Re: Re:

        darryl generally didn't have much to offer in substantial answers to rebuttals, mind you. And the original response merited a "LOL" vote. But if simping for the sake of the injured fee-fees of trolls means that much to you...

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


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