Five Years Ago
This week in 2013, we learned about how the NSA and GCHQ infiltrated World Of Warcraft and Second Life, and about how the NSA was to track people. Most big tech companies were calling for major surveillance reform while AT&T was rebuffing criticism from shareholders — but the government's plan for reform seemed mostly cosmetic and ineffectual. Law enforcement was also ramping up its collection of cellphone data and use of Stingray devices, though for the time being the feds were accepting a ruling saying they need a warrant to put GPS devices on cars. But the feds definitely didn't want to share their FISC legal filings with companies suing them over surveillance, and Keith Alexander was insisting he couldn't think of any way to keep Americans safe without bulk metadata collection.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2008, Warner Music was pushing for a music tax and we were explaining why that's a bad idea. Universal was continuing to wage war on Redbox, online video sites were harming themselves with geographical restrictions, and a hairdresser in New Zealand got billed for playing the radio in her shop. In the DRM world, Nokia's flopped "Comes With Music" scheme for devices had its DRM cracked, while Ubisoft finally decided to drop DRM on Prince of Persia in a highly passive-aggressive way.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2003, the deluge of online music offerings got even sillier with Coca Cola launching its own download store, even while across the industry customers were starting to question the standard pricing (and it was becoming clear that the real money was in selling hardware). Meanwhile, the RIAA hired ATF chief Bradley Buckles to head up its anti-piracy efforts, while a court was telling MPAA head Jack Valenti that he doesn't get to decide whether studios can send out DVD screeners. But Hollywood was winning on other fronts, trying to push its anti-camcorder laws to the national level, and doing well in its fight for a broadcast flag because consumer electronics companies weren't united in their opposition.