Business | Telecoms

Etisalat's BlackBerry update intercepts communication, says RIM

According to RIM, the update issued by etisalat to its BlackBerry subscribers on July 8 is not designed to enhance performance but intercept communications.

  • By Abbas Al Lawati, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 13:32 July 21, 2009
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
  • In an eight page customer update, RIM rejected etisalat’s assertion that the update was intended to enhance performance on the BlackBerry network.

Dubai: The update issued by etisalat to its BlackBerry subscribers on July 8 is not designed to enhance performance but intercept communications, Research in Motion, BlackBerry's parent company has said.

An update etisalat termed as a "performance enhancing patch" that was issued earlier this month led to excessive battery drainage in BlackBerry phones, which experts attributed to a communications interception software pushed on to subscribers' devices by the operator.

In an eight page "customer update", the Canada based company rejected etisalat's assertion that the update was intended to enhance performance on the BlackBerry network.

Click here to download the Blackberry removal patch

"Etisalat appears to have distributed a telecommunications surveillance application that was designed and developed by SS8… 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.

"RIM confirms that this software is not a patch and it is not a RIM authorized upgrade," it said.

In a statement issued last week Etisalat said that the update was intended to facililitate the "handover between 2G and 3G networks".

RIM said that such third party patches "cannot provide any enhancements to network services as there is no capability for third parties to…make such improvements to the communications between a BlackBerry smartphone and a carrier's (etisalat's) network".

Etisalat has 145,000 BlackBerry subscribers. It has not commented on RIM's statement.

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