The company selling a mobile-phone spy application that has been labeled malware by F-Secure says the software isn\u2019t malicious or illegal. F-Secure software recently began blocking a commercial application called FlexiSpy that bills itself as the world\u2019s first spy software built for mobile phones. When FlexiSpy software is loaded onto a Symbian mobile phone, it sends all text messages that are sent and received, as well as call details, to FlexiSpy servers. Users can log on to the servers via the Internet to read the messages and view the call records. The problem, says F-Secure, is that the phone owner may not know the program has been installed and can\u2019t uninstall it. "We\u2019re convinced that this could be used for malicious and illegal purposes in so many ways that we made the decision to flag it as malware," said Mikko Hypponen, F-Secure\u2019s chief research officer. Vervata, the Bangkok, Thailand, company that created FlexiSpy, argues that the product isn\u2019t a virus, a Trojan horse or malware."Like any other monitoring software there may be a possibility for misuse, but there is nothing inherent in FlexiSpy that makes it illegal or malicious," a Vervata spokesman wrote in an e-mail exchange. He said the software must be consciously installed by a person, does not self-replicate and doesn\u2019t pretend to be something it\u2019s not. He said that an uninstall option is provided so the user can uninstall the program at any time, but F-Secure found that the application uninstaller doesn\u2019t work.Hypponen also worried that a user could "beam" the program via Bluetooth to other nearby users. "If one in 100 people who received it wonders what it is and clicks on it, it would install without telling the user what the program does," he said. Going forward, the person who sent the program could read that person\u2019s text messages online. "If that\u2019s not malicious, I don\u2019t know what is," Hypponen said. Some changes to the program could make it more palatable, he said. For instance, if the installation process clearly shows that a spy program is being installed, it could be useful for parents\u00a0who might want to monitor a child\u2019s text messages, he said. But using this type of program to spy on another person is illegal in most parts of the world, he noted. In addition, he also said that users might be concerned that the text messages and calling information\u00a0are being stored on Vervata servers. F-Secure has contacted Vervata to discuss the program but hasn\u2019t received a response, Hypponen said.Each page of the FlexiSpy website warns visitors that logging other people\u2019s text messages and other phone activity or installing FlexiSpy on another person\u2019s phone without their knowledge could be illegal. It also says that Vervata assumes no liability and isn\u2019t responsible for misuse or damage caused by FlexiSpy.\n\n-Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service(Robert McMillan, also of the IDG News Service, contributed to this report.)\n\nCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.