Mideast phone company rigging BlackBerries with spyware, RIM charges

Etisalat provides wireless services in 17 countries

Fascinating dust-up out of Abu Dhabi, where Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion is calling out the local phone monopoly over a so-called “performance enhancing” application the company issued to BlackBerry subscribers. In reality, RIM alleges in an eight-page letter to customers, the application—known as a patch—is spyware. “Independent sources have concluded that it is possible that the installed software could then enable unauthorized access to private or confidential information stored on the user’s smartphone,” the statement read. The company, Etisalat, has not yet responded to the charge, but claimed in a recent statement that the app was intended to facilitate the “handover between 2G and 3G networks.” Etisalat is 60-percent owned by the United Arab Emirates government, and provides wireless service in 17 countries.

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