A controversial mobile phone application, which helps a cell phone user read the text messages of others secretly, has been removed from sale by internet search engine Google.
Google said the application, called SMS Secret Replicator, violated its terms, The Independent reported on Friday.
Once installed on a mobile phone, the Android phone application automatically creates carbon copies of incoming text messages and forwards them to a selected number - prompting fears it could be used by jealous lovers and even work colleagues to snoop on private messages.
Jealous lovers are encouraged to secretly set up a password-protected application on their partners' phones and set it to forward text messages to their own, the paper said.
"The app is unique because there is no visible icon or shortcut to access it, so once it's installed, it will continue to monitor without revealing itself," the developer DLP Mobile was quoted as saying.
Its chief executive, Zak Tanjeloff, said the application was "certainly controversial but can be helpful to people in relationships where this type of monitoring can be useful".
The app's creators have given it the slogan "nothing is secret". Google confirmed it had suspended the application.