The Switchboard: eBay unit Braintree may soon accept bitcoin


With their hands raised, residents gather at a police line as the neighborhood is locked down following skirmishes on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard is your morning helping of hand-picked stories from the Switch team.

Join us today for our weekly livechat, Switchback. We'll kick things off at 11 a.m. Eastern by talking about Ferguson, Mo. and harassment on Twitter. The comment box is open, so submit them now.

How Anonymous got it right and wrong in Ferguson. Anonymous has claimed twice -- incorrectly -- to have uncovered the name of a police officer who fatally shot Ferguson, Mo., teenager Michael Brown. "But other information, like audio recordings of police dispatchers in the area, have turned out to be real -- and people on the ground still credit Anonymous with being one of the best sources of information they have access to, especially as they believe local police have not been forthcoming with details of the tragedy," reports The Switch's Andrea Peterson.

EBay payments unit in talks to accept bitcoin. "EBay Inc. has been quietly working to integrate acceptance of the virtual currency into its Braintree payments subsidiary, part of its PayPal unit, according to people familiar with the matter," reports the Wall Street Journal's Greg Bensinger. "Those people said PayPal officials have [met] in recent weeks with several companies that facilitate bitcoin transactions, including Coinbase Inc. PayPal has yet to reach any agreements, the people said."

'How Verizon lets its copper network decay to force phone customers onto fiber. "The shift from copper landlines to fiber-based voice networks is continuing apace, and no one wants it to happen faster than Verizon," reports Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin. Yet while "many customers practically beg for fiber, others — particularly those who have suffered through long power outages — want Verizon to keep maintaining the old copper lines. But Verizon continues pressuring customers to switch, and it’s getting harder to say no."

Watchdog accuses 30 companies of violating U.S.-E.U. privacy deal.  "A consumer watchdog is accusing 30 American companies of violating an international privacy agreement and urging U.S. regulators to get involved," reports The Hill's Kate Tummarello. "In a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission filed Thursday, the Center for Digital Democracy asked the agency to investigate the companies for allegedly collecting, using and sharing data about European citizens in ways that violate the Safe Harbor agreement between the U.S. and European Union."

Gimme a beat: Intel, 50 Cent pair up on heart-rate headphones. "Chipmaker Intel and SMS Audio, the consumer electronics company founded by 50 Cent, are partnering to launch a pair of heart-rate-measuring headphones," reports Re/Code's Liz Gannes. "The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear headphones have an optical light sensor in the earbuds that, combined with other sensors, infer the wearer’s heart rate during both intense exercise sessions and regular, continuous wear." The headphones are powered by the phone's audio jack.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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Andrea Peterson · August 14