FaceTime eavesdropping bug is a blow to privacy-touting Apple

On Monday Apple pulled down access to its FaceTime group calling feature amidst reports of a potential eavesdropping issue. A new bug in the app has been discovered that can let you listen in on someone's iPhone before the owner picks up a call.

Apple has announced the Group FaceTime feature in the summer of 2018 but then revoked it after early test version of its iOS 12. Apple confirmed the bug and said that it will release a fix later this week.

Though the bug still alerts the recipient to the call, that person has no way of knowing that the caller can hear what they're saying. In addition to Memoji and AR stickers, Apple added FaceTime Group Calls, which finally allowed for multi-user coherence calling on FaceTime.

The issue was so serious that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and even Andrew Cuomo, governor of the state of NY, weighed in and urged their followers to disable FaceTime. He said it would have been hard to use the bug to spy on someone, as the phone would ring first - and it's easy to identify who called.

Her efforts also included using Apple's support system to file a bug report.

All was going well during the National Privacy Day in the US, with Apple's Tim Cook commemorating the event by emphasizing on the importance of data privacy until one of the offerings of the Cupertino giant was attacked by a bug.

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Until Apple releases its software update, it appears that the best way for iPhone users to protect their privacy is to disable FaceTime in the phone's settings.

Apple should shut down FaceTime for everyone if that's what it takes.

NY governor Andrew Cuomo issued a consumer alert for the product.

Apple does seem to have temporarily disabled FaceTime due to the serious privacy risk it poses, though that should not stop you from turning off the service on your device as well. Apple issued a statement to the site, saying that a fix will be coming later this week.

My family and I are running Apple iOS 12.1.3 on our iPhone XS and iPhone 7 devices.

  • Delia Davidson