After discovering a serious privacy error in the FaceTime feature for iOS and macOS, Apple has issued an apology claim for the problem – and delays a previously expected software update next week.
Originally discovered about two weeks ago by Arizona teenager Grant Thompson, the Bay enabled a FaceTime caller to surreptitiously listen to sound near another user's ringing FaceTime device. If the employee's FaceTime call is turned off by pressing one of the device's physical buttons instead of rejecting the call on the screen, it might be possible for the caller to view video transmission from the device.
The error was determined to be related to a recent expansion of FaceTime, called Group FaceTime. Even though Apple waited six or more days from the first contact with the teen's mother to solve the problem, an increasing number of shocked social media users led the company to temporarily disable Group FaceTime on the server side and to lift a software update at the end of the week. .
Apple's statement reads as follows:
We have solved the Group FaceTime vulnerability on Apple's servers, and we will issue a software update to enable the feature for users next week. We thank the Thompson family for reporting the error. We apologize to our customers who were affected and anyone concerned about this vulnerability. We appreciate everyone's patience as we complete this process.
We want to assure our customers that as soon as our technical team became aware of the details needed to reproduce the error, they quickly disabled Group FaceTime and started working on the repair. We are committed to improving the process we receive and escalate these reports to get them to the right people as soon as possible. We take security for our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continue to earn the trust of Apple customers in us.
When details of the Thompson family's efforts to reach Apple became clear, the company's long-standing error reporting process was rightly criticized for delaying the response. Instead of responding to the family's earliest email messages, company representatives set Miss Thompson, a lawyer, through an official bug report, which included signing up for a developer account to submit a ticket on the company's buggy. She memorialized her multiple contacts with the company over several days, including a formal legal notice, and later investigated them as media members. Despite her efforts, Apple did not take any public action until journalists reported that they had succeeded in replicating the error.
Allegedly affected users in the US and Canada have already started the lawsuit filing process against Apple, claiming privacy insults due to the insect. Similarly, New York's lawyer Letitia James and governor Andrew Cuomo announced an investigation into the error and Apple's response time.