This Week In Techdirt History: September 30th – October 6th

Five Years Ago

This week in 2013, as we discussed how the NSA had essentially built its own “shadow” social network, we learned and then confirmed that the agency was collecting GPS data from mobile phones. A We The People petition calling for a pardon for Ed Snowden was being quietly ignored, while Michael Hayden was joking about putting Snowden on a ‘kill list’. We also learned that the NSA was storing all metadata for at least a year, and performing man-in-the-middle attacks with the help of telcos. Plus, it was working hard to compromise Tor, despite James Clapper’s claims that they were just trying to “understand” it.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2008, the House followed the Senate in creating a copyright czar position, even as it let orphan works legislation die and the Senate moved on to more international piracy shaming. Cox was quietly adopting a copyright three strikes policy and lying about it being required by the DMCA, a comprehensive review of the RIAA’s lawsuit strategy showed just how much of a failure it was, and The Pirate Bay was launching its own copyright lawsuit to expose the absurdity of the system.

Fifteen Years Ago

Five years earlier in 2003, in the early days of the RIAA’s lawsuits, another 63 people gave in to its shakedown letters this week, while the agency concluded a Senate hearing by promising to at least leave a little time in between the letters and the lawsuits in future — but at least one senator wanted much more substantial change. There was talk about compulsory licensing for music and a lot of questions about how it could be abused depending on how you define “music” — not to mention talk about how the cost of making music was going way, way down. It was also around this time that the practice of bundling TV, internet and phone service was picking up steam.

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