Five Years Ago
This week in 2014, there was a back-and-forth between Ed Snowden and the NSA, starting with the former explaining in an interview how he tried to raise concerns internally through the “proper channels”. James Clapper responded by publishing an email from Snowden that was not about his concerns as counterevidence, but Snowden insisted that was not the only email and, more importantly, explained why that’s missing the point anyway.
Meanwhile, one former official was excoriating Snowden for making other countries angry, Bruce Schneier was suggesting that the leaks actually help with the cracking of terrorist encryption, the White House itself accidentally revealed the identity of a top CIA spy in Afghanistan and… the House of Representatives happily reauthorized intelligence community funding with no new oversight, whistleblower protections, or anything else.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2009, a Canadian nonprofit released a deceptive report calling for stronger copyright laws that turned out to be largely plagiarized, eventually leading to three reports being recalled. The BSA would have been on their side though I’m sure, since it was also painting a grim picture of Canadian piracy based mostly on hunches. In Sweden, the judge who was to determine whether the original judge in the Pirate Bay trial was biased was himself removed for bias — and this wasn’t even the last twist of the week, as Sweden’s cultural minister then apparently fell afoul of local laws about commenting on ongoing litigation by saying she supported the original ruling. Meanwhile, the EFF was trying to counter the RIAA’s propaganda in schools, the CEO of Sony Pictures was standing by his belief that there’s nothing good about the internet at all, and a guy amusingly sued Guinness when it made him the world record holder for most lawsuits filed.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2004, the RIAA was adding another sympathetic and apparently innocent target to the list of people it harassed for money with legal threats, while it was also taking a cue from the MPAA and demanding a broadcast flag for digital radio. Clear Channel bought up a patent on selling instant recordings of live shows and started shaking down bands, while record labels were betting it all on ringtones while jacking up the price (great plan). There were, of course, plenty of legal download sites around by now. Over 100 in fact. Some might say too many.
We also heard one of the earliest rumblings of an innovation that today seems… well, not exactly mundane, because I personally still find Google Street View to be pretty incredible, but much more common than it did in 2004, when it was hard to envision it as more than a specialty product for certain industries: a company planning to drive around in a camera-laden van and map everything with photos.
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