From the Washington Post:
BEIJING — The Chinese Communist Party appears to have “superuser” access to the entire data on more than 100 million Android-based cellphones through a back door in a propaganda app that the government has been promoting aggressively this year.
An examination of the coding of the app used by phones running the Android operating system shows it enables authorities to retrieve messages and photos from users’ phones, browse their contacts and Internet history, and activate an audio recorder inside the devices.
“The [Chinese Communist Party] essentially has access to over 100 million users’ data,” said Sarah Aoun, director of technology at the Open Technology Fund, an initiative funded by the U.S. government under Radio Free Asia. “That’s coming from the top of a government that is expanding its surveillance into citizens’ day-to-day lives.”
Apple said that, while the app could be downloaded on its devices, this type of “superuser” surveillance could not be conducted on Apple’s operating system.