7/27/2010

US government legalizes iPhone ‘jailbreaking,’ unlocking

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The U.S. government on Monday announced new rules that make it officially legal for iPhone owners to “jailbreak” their device and run unauthorized third-party applications. In addition, it is now acceptable to unlock any cell phone for use on multiple carriers.

According to The Associated Press, the government approved a handful of new exemptions to a federal law that prevents the circumvention of technical measure that prevent users from accessing and modifying copyrighted works. The report noted that every three years, the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office authorizes exemptions to ensure existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material.

In addition, another exemption was approved that would allow all cell phone users to unlock their device for use on an unapproved carrier. Currently, Apple’s iPhone is available exclusively through AT&T, but unlocking it can allow for voice calls and EDGE data speeds on rival carrier T-Mobile.

Other exemptions announced Monday allow people to break protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws; allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy protection measures on DVDs to embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos; and allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices (dongles) if the hardware no longer works and cannot be replaced.

Ask.com augments search engine with people

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Ask.com, the Internet search engine owned by IAC/InterActive Corp, is seeking some human help answering web surfers’ questions.

The company has begun testing a new service that lets users of its search engine submit questions to other Ask.com visitors, tapping into the powerful social networking trends that are increasingly gaining popularity on the Web.

The new service represents a striking shift for the company, which like most Internet search engines has long sought to distinguish itself based on the brawn of its computer algorithms.

But with only 3.6 percent share of the U.S. search market in June according to analytics firm comScore, Ask.com is looking for ways to differentiate itself from rivals Google Inc, Yahoo Inc and Microsoft Corp.

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