BEIJING (AFP) – A Chinese city will spend $24,000 on Trojan horse computer software for monitoring mobile phones, state media reported Thursday, after a notice announcing the move inexplicably appeared on a local website.
According to the Global Times newspaper, police in the eastern city of Wenzhou plan to spend a total of 149,000 yuan ($24,000) on the software, which is “designed for unlocked iPhones and Android smart phones to monitor the saved call logs, messages, photos and other information”.
A notice announcing the move was published last month on the website of the Wenzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone, the paper said.
Screenshots of a chart on the development zone’s website detailing the purchase circulated Wednesday on China’s popular Sina Weibo social network. By Thursday, the document – which some users speculated had been posted in a bid to increase government transparency – had been taken down from the website.
A Trojan horse is a type of malicious code that can force computers or smartphones to relay information to a third party without the knowledge or consent of their owners.