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Oct 18, 2019

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Apple scrambles to fix FaceTime bug

Mitchell Hartman Jan 29, 2019
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Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

A bug in Apple’s FaceTime, news of which filled social media channels and tech news sites this week, could have allowed a caller to listen to the audio from an iPhone she or he is calling, even before the person at the other end of the line had accepted or rejected the call. Apple is working on a permanent fix. Here’s what you need to know:

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a consumer alert Monday, calling the bug an “egregious breach of privacy”
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook has, over the last year, made a point of saying that Apple is all about protecting consumer privacy and assailed companies like Google and Facebook for their data privacy practices
  • “There’s certainly an irony in this incident,” said John Jackson, an IDC analyst. “Apple has gone out of its way to claim a sort of user-privacy moral high ground, with Tim Cook repeatedly saying that it wouldn’t use customers’ data for things like ad targeting. He’s been openly critical of Facebook and Google’s models, which do exactly that.”
  • The FaceTime bug is just that — a bug. It is not a feature of the app. Cook’s criticism of tech rivals has centered on their intentional harvesting of personal data.
  •  “It’s not a big deal,” said Angelo Zino at CFRA Research. “From time to time you have issues like this and we expect it to be addressed.” 

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