Five Years Ago
This week in 2014, as the events in Ferguson prompted us to continue scrutinizing the police, we looked at how a federal law ordering the Attorney General to gather data on police use of force had been ignored for 20 years. President Obama ordered a review of the military gear given to police departments, but it didn’t sound like it was going to result in any corrective action, even as we learned that cops were getting so much equipment that they were losing track of everything from rifles to Humvees. Some cops were facing felony charges for using government databases to screen potential dates, but when it comes to use of excessive force, the judicial system was a clear enabler.
Ten Years Ago
This week in 2009, a Swedish court got The Pirate Bay taken down by ordering one of its main ISPs to stop serving it, while the judge in the IsoHunt case surprised the MPAA by noting that it actually needed to prove infringement by US residents, and the DOJ — fresh off the appointment of a bunch of top entertainment industry lawyers — announced more funding and a new focus on intellectual property enforcement. Music publishers really kicked their war against lyric websites into high gear, we saw some evidence that copyright holders might be seeding torrents of their own files to find and sue downloaders, and we featured an interview with William Patry about how the copyright debate got so twisted.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2004, there was some suggestion that the Justice Department actually wasn’t so keen on doing Hollywood’s dirty work, though we know now how that ultimately played out. Indeed, the very same week, despite rumblings that the feds were going to announce a major crackdown on spammers, they ended up being more interested in going after file sharers and pirated software, followed by an attempt to make a big splash with a more general anti-cybercrime sweep that was basically just a press release.
Also this week in 2004: our criticism of a journalist for misunderstanding Wikipedia turned into a bit of an ongoing debate, some people began wondering if the war on spam would fuel major AI advancements, and rumors re-emerged about the possibility of a Google browser.