Last week UAE-based telecom firm Etisalat pushed out an update to its 145,000 BlackBerry users claiming that it would improve performance.  It turns out, however, that the “performance update” actually was a telecommunications surveillance application produced by the U.S. based firm SS8, which describes itself as a provider of “lawful electronic intercept and surveillance solutions“.

Research in Motion put out a statement saying that the update was not authorized, developed, or tested by RIM.

Etisalat appears to have distributed a telecommunications surveillance application… independent sources have concluded that it is possible that the installed software could then enable unauthorised access to private or confidential information stored on the user’s smartphone.

RIM has also created a Registration App Remover the will remove the Etisalat update.  You can get more information about it here.