Edward Snowden is not entitled to any profits from the sales of his memoir and the United States government can instead claim the proceeds, a federal judge found in a decision yesterday.
The National Security Agency leaker published the book, called Permanent Record, in September, but the Justice Department immediately stepped in with a lawsuit. Usually, intelligence agencies submit works to a prepublication review process to ensure no government secrets are released.
The government argued that since Snowden had failed to provide the book for a contractually obligated review, he had no right to the profits from the book or his public speeches. Snowden’s lawyers have countered that it would be impossible for the book to receive a good-faith review from the government.
But in yesterday’s ruling, a federal judge in Virginia sided with the government, finding that “the contractual language is clear.” The judge writes that Snowden’s “failure to participate in the prepublication review process” made it impossible for the judge to question hypothetical decisions about that review.
Brett Max Kaufman, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Center for Democracy who worked on Snowden’s legal team, said in a statement that it was “farfetched” to think Snowden’s book would receive a fair government review.
“We disagree with the court’s decision and will review our options,” Kaufman said, “but it’s more clear than ever that the unfair and opaque prepublication review system affecting millions of former government employees needs major reforms.”
TikTok owner ByteDance denies it’s exploring selling stake in popular app
ByteDance is not currently exploring selling its stake in TikTok, despite a report from Bloomberg stating that preliminary conversations were held as scrutiny from US officials grows. TikTok head Alex Zhu sent an internal note to staff addressing the report, which was obtained by Reuters. Zhu told employees that “from time to time you may…
ByteDance is not currently exploring selling its stake in TikTok, despite a report from Bloomberg stating that preliminary conversations were held as scrutiny from US officials grows.
TikTok head Alex Zhu sent an internal note to staff addressing the report, which was obtained by Reuters. Zhu told employees that “from time to time you may read stories in the media that are not true,” and called Bloomberg’s report inaccurate. Zhu added that executives haven’t hosted any “discussions with potential buyers of TikTok, nor do we have any intention to.” A TikTok representative also told Bloomberg that “these rumors are completely meritless.”
Bloomberg’s report arrives as TikTok continues to recent attention from US officials, with some senators warning the app could be a security threat. Advisors to ByteDance executives recommended “everything from an aggressive legal defense and operational separation for TikTok to sale of a majority stake,” according to Bloomberg. The company could maintain it doesn’t present any security threat when asked by US officials. ByteDance wants to maintain full control of TikTok, Bloomberg also reported, especially as the app continues to surge in popularity.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is looking into ByteDance’s $1 billion purchase of Musical.ly in 2017. An investigation could determine if ByteDance has to divest Musical.ly assets, which helped build the TikTok platform. CFIUS has begun asking questions, and may recommend measures TikTok can take to “avoid divesting the Musical.ly assets it acquired,” according to Reuters. The investigation comes as tensions between the United States and China grow.
“I remain deeply concerned that any platform or application that has Chinese ownership or direct links to China, such as TikTok, can be used as a tool by the Chinese Communist Party to extend its authoritarian censorship of information outside China’s borders and amass data on millions of unsuspecting users,” Senator Marco Rubio stated.
ByteDance has attempted to address concerns through a couple of initiatives. The company has tried to work with more American groups, including hiring an independent American law firm in October to review TikTok’s content moderation practices. Another American firm was hired to review the company’s security practices. The firm found that TikTok could not have transmitted user data from the China within the period they investigated.
Despite the company’s efforts to try and work with American firms, the more pressing issue is whether ByteDance — a company valued at $78 billion — can change people’s perceptions of using a Chinese-owned app. As The Verge’s Casey Newton wrote in November:
As pressure escalates on TikTok, the company may find that it has few levers of support to pull on. Putting its executives forward outside the friendly confines of a press release would be a start. But so long as the Chinese government is looming behind the company’s business practices, TikTok faces a credibility gap — and it’s not clear what, if anything, can close it.
New Samsung Galaxy Buds appear to be on the way, and they might have better battery life
Filings for what appear to be a new set of Samsung Galaxy Buds have hit the FCC, indicating that a new version of Samsung’s wireless earbuds might be arriving soon — and the filings have a tantalizing piece of information that might indicate improved battery life (via Droid Life). In a diagram of where the…
Filings for what appear to be a new set of Samsung Galaxy Buds have hit the FCC, indicating that a new version of Samsung’s wireless earbuds might be arriving soon — and the filings have a tantalizing piece of information that might indicate improved battery life (via Droid Life).
In a diagram of where the required FCC labeling may appear on the new Galaxy Buds, you can see that each bud may have a capacity of “300mA,” and that the case may have a capacity of “600mA.” That could theoretically mean up to triple the battery life for each bud over the Galaxy Buds on the market today, and a slight improvement in battery life for the case.
You shouldn’t necessarily trust those numbers, though, because for the original Galaxy Buds, the battery ratings in its FCC filings were higher than the ones on the retail product.
It’s worth noting that the current Galaxy Buds already have good battery life compared to other wireless earbuds. The base AirPods, for example, get about five hours on a single charge, while the Galaxy Buds were advertised at six hours for the buds and seven hours of reserve for the case. In his review, former Verge staffer Vlad Savov found real-world usage to be in line with Samsung’s estimates.
The FCC filings don’t have any other pictures, though, so we don’t know what the buds or case might look like, and we don’t know how much they might cost. The filings also don’t give us much of a clue about when the new Galaxy Buds might come out, as filings often show up weeks or months before products hit the market.
When emailed for comment about the filings, a Samsung spokesperson said they had nothing to share.
Axiom Verge 2 Announced
Indie hit Axiom Verge is officially getting a sequel, developer Tom Happ announced Tuesday as part of Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase. The follow-up to the 2015 Metroid-inspired platformer is simply named Axiom Verge 2, and Happ said he’s been quietly working on it for the past four years. The sequel is set to launch in…
Indie hit Axiom Verge is officially getting a sequel, developer Tom Happ announced Tuesday as part of Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase.
The follow-up to the 2015 Metroid-inspired platformer is simply named Axiom Verge 2, and Happ said he’s been quietly working on it for the past four years. The sequel is set to launch in Fall of 2020.
From the looks of its reveal trailer, Axiom Verge 2 will generally follow a similar 2D Metroidvania formula to the original, though its pixel art graphics are potentially a slightly higher resolution and certainly a bit brighter in parts compared to the original. The words “you are not in control, you are not yourself, you belong to us now” could also be seen on screen, hinting at the plot it may follow.
We gave Axiom Verge a 7.9 in our 2015 review, praising its weapons, character progression, and impressive bosses, but saying its world wasn’t as engrossing as the one in Metroid that it was so clearly inspired by.
You can read through every announcement from Tuesday’s Nintendo Indie World Showcase, including the reveal of Golf Story Sequel called Sports Story, and read our full Axiom Verge review here.
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.
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