Tech 2.0 for Tuesday, February 25, 2014
One of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges appears to have collapsed. A coalition of virtual currency companies says Tokyo-based Mt. Gox went under after secretly racking up catastrophic losses. Mt. Gox's website wasn't functioning today. That follows the resignation Sunday of its CEO from the board of the Bitcoin Foundation, a group seeking legitimacy for the new form of money. The exchange had imposed a ban on withdrawals earlier this month. Prominent supporters of bitcoin are seeking to shore up confidence in the currency by labeling Mt. Gox's collapse an isolated case of mismanagement. Bitcoin has become popular among tech enthusiasts, libertarians and investors because it allows people to make transactions and exchange money across borders without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties. Criminals like bitcoin for the same reasons. A number of large retailers such as Overstock.com have begun to accept it. While it's hard to know just how many people around the world own bitcoins, speculative investors have sent the currency's value fluctuating wildly in recent months.
Disney is launching a digital movies app that allows fans to store movie purchases online and play them back over Apple devices and computers. The launch of Disney Movies Anywhere coincides with the release of hit film "Frozen" on digital platforms. Users who link the app account to Apple's iTunes digital store will receive a free copy of "The Incredibles." The app is built on The Walt Disney Co.'s KeyChest technology, which stores and records consumers' purchases of digital movies on distant servers. The app also recognizes codes that have enabled digital downloads of Disney movies since 2008. KeyChest is similar to UltraViolet, a digital locker system supported by a wider range of studios such as Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Universal, Sony and Paramount.
A Utah Senate committee has unanimously approved a bill limiting law enforcement's use of unmanned aerial systems to protect privacy as more police agencies use drones. The Senate's government operations committee voted 5-0 Tuesday morning to advance the bill to the full Senate. Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper is sponsoring the bill and says privacy protections are needed now as drone technology improves and is more widely used. His bill comes on the heels of a legislative resolution expressing support for the development of drone technology and business in Utah. Lawmakers earlier this month only signed off on the message once it included a nod to preserving privacy.