Five Years Ago
This week in 2014, James Clapper finally admitted that the number of documents Ed Snowden took was probably a lot less than the much-bandied 1.7-million figure, while various former intelligence officials were not happy about Clapper’s gag order on talking to the press. A new report examined the reactions to the Snowden leaks from governments around the world, and we noted one big positive result was companies being less ready to help the NSA. But agency defenders were still telling lots of lies, Mike Rogers was calling Google unpatriotic for opposing spying on its users, and we awaited a key vote in congress that would reveal how much it valued people’s privacy.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2009, the Swedish Pirate Party surprised everyone by winning a seat in the EU parliament for Christian Engstrom, who used the attention to explain the party (and its name) to an often-confused press. Amidst the push for fashion copyright some smart designers were realizing it would be a bad thing, Bad Science’s Ben Goldacre tore apart a bogus study about file sharing, and a UK ISP boss was trying to explain to the industry that it needs to give up on trying to stop all piracy. In France, the consitutional council gutted the recently-passed three strikes program, video game companies were still whining about used game sales, and we saw the beginning of another notoriously silly copyright dust-up when an Australian music publisher claimed Down Under by Men At Work was a copy of the children’s song Kookaburra.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2004, people were cluing into the huge learning benefits for kids who use computers — and the fact that over-obsession with “internet risks” can undermine these benefits. We took a look at how being prevented from using a cellphone sparks extreme anger in some, but is embraced as a nice break by others. Television was trying to figure out how to embrace and/or compete with broadband, while the RIAA was complaining that digital broadcasts would make radio too high-quality, and that would be bad. And after a brief flurry of trading with some people shelling out hundreds of dollars for the hyped new email service, Gmail invites flooded the market and tanked the price.