from the how-it-went dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2014, Benjamin Wittes was attacking NSA critics with a big swing-and-a-miss, while Senator Saxby Chambliss was nonsensically invoking ISIS to defend the agency, and John Brennan was getting caught in a tangled web over the CIA spying on Senate staffers. Meanwhile, Apple and Google were moving to encrypt phones by default, leading to a law enforcement freakout with plenty of FUD from the feds, all the way up to James Comey slamming the companies for enacting basic security.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2009, the Techdirt/Lily Allen drama unfolded as the debate around Peter Mandelson’s plan to kick UK file-sharers off the internet heated up. First, TorrentFreak discovered that Allen had reposted an entire Techdirt post on her blog without any link or credit, which we noted doesn’t bother us but should make her rethink her views on piracy. As other artists like James Blunt and Elton John (in a massive flip-flop) joined Allen in supporting internet disconnection, she apologized for copying the post while entirely missing the point about the ease and innocence of casual copying. She attempted to answer some questions but didn’t seem to address any of the really important ones being raised in her blog comments, and then things got sillier: it turned out her own official website was still distributing an early mixtape she made that was full of “pirated” songs. It was our honest hope that this would be a genuine teaching moment, but while Allen did appear to decide that kicking people offline might be too draconian, she mostly just seemed to miss the point some more, and delete her blog.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2004, textbook publishers were the ones becoming loud members of the crowd complaining about filesharing, while Wired Magazine was convincing some musicians to experiment with Creative Commons, and for a brief moment it looked like the MPAA might actually face some consequences for bogus DMCA takedowns. WiFi was being plagued with silly patent fights over the technology itself and amazingly even the very idea of offering public internet access, while MusicMatch successfully fended of a patent attack by Gracenote. And AOL became an early adopter of two-factor authentication but with a not-so-great twist: you had to pay a $10 setup fee and $2 per month to make use of it.