By Leigh Beadon
Five Years Ago
This week in 2015, the NSA was renewing its bulk records collection after a worrying and slightly suspicious court ruling. The FBI was somehow using Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to get more Stingray devices, just before the Wall Street Journal got a “win” (though the devil was in the details) in a lawsuit related to Stingray surveillance orders, and the DOJ told federal agents that they need warrants to use the devices. Meanwhile, the NYPD was volunteering to be copyright cops in Times Square, Sony was downplaying the damage done by the same hack it was hyping up before, and the entertainment industry was freaking out about Popcorn Time.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2010, we were saddened to see the US Commerce Secretary siding with the RIAA and telling ISPs to become copyright cops, even as more ISPs were stepping up to fight subpoenas from the US Copyright Group (and in France, some ISPs were fighting back against Hadopi, which was also becoming a tool of scammers). One court refused to dismiss a Righthaven lawsuit involving a copyright that was bought after the alleged infringement happened, while another court was seeking ways to minimize a Righthaven win with minuscule damages — and the LVRJ was defending the Righthaven suits and mocking a competitor for criticizing them.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2005, we were pleased to see that the judge in one of the first instances of someone fighting back against RIAA lawsuits seemed to recognize the issues, and less pleased to see another court give its assent to yet another form of DMCA abuse. It wasn’t as crazy as what was happening in India, though, where it appeared that their equivalent of the MPAA got an open search warrant for the entire city of New Delhi to look for pirated movies. And even that didn’t match the panic over mobile porn that was gripping parts of the world, leading to things like Malaysian police performing random porn spot-checks on people’s phones.