This Week In Techdirt History: May 5th – 11th

Five Years Ago

This week in 2014, the push for one of two NSA reform bills went somewhat sour as the better bill was watered down so much it got the support of NSA apologists and passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, the new NSA boss was making extreme understatements about the agency’s situation while the former boss (who was also setting up a cybersecurity consulting firm) was defending everything he did. In the UK, at least, parliament finally admitted Snowden’s revelations revealed that oversight of the GCHQ was broken.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2009, anti-Google hysteria reached a fever pitch with comparisons to the Taliban, a grandstanding attorney general was threatening Craigslist’s management with criminal charges, and pharma giant Merck was caught having created a fake science journal to praise its products. Some folks were making wild estimates about an unknowable number to support their copyright agenda, claiming the leak of the Wolverine film cost millions at the box office, the RIAA was demonstrating the meaninglessness of its recent promises by continuing to file lawsuits, and we saw the formation of a famous copyright nonsense triangle when Cat Stevens stepped in to say Coldplay copied him, not Joe Satriani. We also took a look at all the ways Italy had been demonstrating a very troubling view of the internet.

Fifteen Years Ago

This week in 2004, while lots of people were grappling with the unresolved legal implications of WiFi, one smart commentator was cluing in to the fact that camera phones provided the public a way to fight back against surveillance by watching the watchers and filming things like, say, police misdeeds. The mess that was (and is) the patent system was getting some mainstream media attention, as was the ongoing failure of record labels to adapt to the internet (them being too busy suing a grandmother who decided to fight back). The Google IPO had everyone excited about the company (enough to start gobbling up every domain name with “Google” in it), while a meaningless but amusing clerical error led to Microsoft patenting a new breed of apple.

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