This Week In Techdirt History: June 2nd – 8th

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, newly released documents outlined the NSA’s interception of millions of images every day to fill a facial recognition database, leading James Clapper to defend the program by denying claims nobody actually made. The EFF complained to a court about the NSA’s destruction of evidence, leading to an admission from the DOJ and a new restraining order from the court — which they convinced the court to overturn. Meanwhile, we took a broader look at surveillance in the post-Snowden world, and a big group of tech companies were pressuring the NSA to end bulk surveillance.

This was also the week that John Oliver famously rebranded Net Neutrality as Preventing Cable Company Fuckery, leading to a deluge of submissions that crashed the FCC’s public comment page. It didn’t stop one congressional representative from releasing an anti-net-neutrality bill full of laughable claims, though.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, the UK was making its entry in the bogus piracy statistics hall of fame, recording industry propaganda was making its way to Australia, another group of copyright defenders was found to be plagiarizing material, a Spanish court ruled that personal file sharing is legal, and a band that was held up as an example of harm in the prosecution of The Pirate Bay released its new album on The Pirate Bay. Attempts to get “three strikes” regimes in place were struggling, with no ISPs signed on to the RIAA’s voluntary plan after six months, and the UK government turning down a recommendation for an official three strikes scheme. One former RIAA boss, at least, was able to admit that record labels screwed a lot of things up as technology evolved.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2004, the buzz around Gmail was making people begin to realize that it might be the beginning of an online storage revolution. New important technologies of various kinds were being discussed and early-adopted, from two-factor authentication to 64-bit computing… and also CD copy protection. The war against spam was a stalemate at best, with the new CAN SPAM act mostly impacting legitimate email marketers but not flagrant spammers, but at least anti-spam technology was ripe for patenting I suppose. And we took an early look at the long disclaimers many people continue to tack onto their work emails, noting the fairly obvious fact that they couldn’t possibly be binding.

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