The Switchboard: Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy

February 28, 2014

(REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Mt. Gox Files for Bankruptcy Protection. "Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox said Friday it was filing for bankruptcy protection after losing almost 750,000 of its customers' bitcoins, marking the collapse of a marketplace that once dominated trading in the virtual currency," according to the Wall Street Journal. "The company said it also lost around 100,000 of its own bitcoins."

California court says it’s ok for drivers to look at smartphone maps. "According to a new state appeals court ruling on Thursday, California drivers can now legally read digital maps on their phones, even though a state law says that they cannot use phones while behind the wheel," Ars Technica reports. "The case involved a man named Steven Spriggs, who was ticketed $165 by a California Highway Patrol officer who spotted Spriggs after he was stuck in traffic at an area encumbered by roadwork."

Millions of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ. "Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal," according to the Guardian. "GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not."

Texas appeals court says police can’t search your phone after you’re jailed. "On Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that law enforcement officials do need a warrant to search an arrested person's cell phone after they've been jailed," Ars Technica says. "The ruling did not decide whether it is legal or not for police to search a suspect's phone at the incidence of arrest, which is currently a hotly contested subject. The Supreme Court is set to decide that matter later this year. For now, however, seven Texas appeals court judges have ruled that a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy over the contents of their cell phone while the phone is being stored in the jail property room."

Yellen steers clear of bitcoin. "The Federal Reserve has no jurisdiction over the virtual currency bitcoin and the job of policing wrongdoing in that area should fall to the Justice Department, according to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen," the Hill reports. "Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Yellen said that since bitcoin does not intersect with the traditional banking system, the Fed has no oversight over it."

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Andrea Peterson · February 27, 2014