Hackers release new version of iPhone Jailbreak app

Unlike other versions, the new one can be installed using the Safari browser on the iPhone

The latest version of software that allows iPhone owners to install applications not approved by Apple has been released just days after the practice was declared legal under U.S. copyright law.

JailbreakMe 2.0 can be installed by going to its developers' Web site, jailbreakme.com, where it is installed via the Safari Web browser. One of its developers, Comex, wrote on Twitter that there were initial problems with JailbreakMe and the MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and FaceTime video chat functions, but those problems are now fixed.

The practice of jailbreaking was illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits the circumvention of copy protection mechanisms. But last week the Librarian of Congress issued a batch of exemptions, ruling that the installation of legally acquired third-party software for non-infringing reasons on mobile phones doesn't violate U.S. copyright law.

Jailbreaking also allows an iPhone to be used on other phone networks. Apple's exclusive agreement with AT&T to offer the iPhone is being challenged in a class-action suit filed last month in which customers contend the two companies secretly agreed to unfairly "technologically restrict voice and data service" for five years.

Apple, which has never pushed for prosecuting someone for jailbreaking their iPhone, nonetheless discourages the practice, saying that it could interfere with the phone's normal operation. Jailbreaking also will potentially invalidate the iPhone's warranty, Apple has warned.

Apple's regular iPhone software updates often also invalidated the jailbreak modifications, and the jailbreaking software had to be regularly updated.

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Jeremy Kirk

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