House Committee wants Apple CEO to answer questions about FaceTime bug

House Committee wants Apple CEO to answer questions about FaceTime bug
Just because Apple disseminated iOS 12.1.4 late last week, patching a very embarrassing Group FaceTime bug that forced Apple to disable the feature, doesn't mean that the company can put the whole thing behind it. A letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook (via Mashable) from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce dated February 5th, says that the Committee is "deeply troubled" about why it took Apple so long to listen to 14-year old Grant Thompson and his mother Michele when they tried to tip off the company about the Group FaceTime bug.

Apple eventually issued a statement apologizing for the bug, and credited the Thompsons for pointing out the flaw. Apple often pays a bounty to those who discover problems with their hardware or software, and the teen will receive cash and have his college tuition picked up by the company. The bug allowed a person initiating a Group FaceTime call to hear comments made by the other parties before they even accepted the video call. If those receiving the call turned down their volume button instead of accepting it, live video would be sent from their iPhone without the users' consent and knowledge.

The Committee, in its letter, asked Cook when Apple first learned about the bug and whether it knew about it prior to the notification it received from Michele Thompson. The committee also wants to know why there was a delay between the time that Apple heard about the problem from the Thompson family, and the release of iOS 12.1.4. The letter also asks Cook to divulge whether there are any undisclosed bugs related to its devices' microphones and cameras that have been found, but not yet fixed. Committee members also want to know which privacy interests belonging to FaceTime users were violated by the bug, and whether Apple plans to "notify and compensate" customers affected by the issue.

Michele Thompson said that she had a hard time getting through to Apple to report the bug, and had to post a YouTube video to get the company's attention. Apple says that as a result of the incident, it will revamp its bug reporting system to make it easier for consumers to report a problem.

The letter was signed by chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). The latter is the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee of Consumer Protection and Commerce.

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8 Comments

1. drunkenjay

Posts: 1657; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

this is one of the biggest privacy blunders apple could have ever done.

5. blingblingthing

Posts: 946; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

What about those lock screen bypasses? What about those Indian/sirenian characters which caused reboots?

2. lyndon420

Posts: 6737; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

The problem is likely a lazy apple employee that didn't care enough to report this problem to his manager.

4. cmdacos

Posts: 4110; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

It was several including whoever monitors Tim's Twitter account.

3. wickedwilly

Posts: 667; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

The problem is Apple continues to give the impression its products are secure and free from data gathering when it is very clear this is not or never has been the case. This is compounded by Apple fans being gullible and swallowing everything Apple tells them.

6. blingblingthing

Posts: 946; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Gullible indeed, expect Apple fans to still maintain iOS is totally secure.

7. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1318; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Far too many Apple fans are like flat Earthers, they refuse to believe any factual evidence that goes against their views.

8. obedchuni

Posts: 332; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

The problem with Apple is they don’t listen to the consumer, what they think

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