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New York Attorney General to investigate how Apple is handling the FaceTime bug

The probe will center on the company’s slow response to the privacy flaw

Photo via Twitter
New York state Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday the launch of a probe into the recently discovered FaceTime bug.

The bug -- which was discovered by iPhone users and not security researchers -- enabled callers to hear the person on the other line before they had agreed to accept the call. If the recipient tried to block the call or turn off the device, their video camera automatically began recording. That video would then be sent back to the caller.

“The damage potential here is real. You can listen in to soundbites of any iPhone user’s ongoing conversation without them ever knowing that you could hear them,” 9to5Mac wrote on Monday. “Until Apple fixes the bug, it’s not clear how to defend yourself against this attack either aside from disabling FaceTime altogether.”

Slow response to the issue

Apple disabled the offending feature after it became public on Monday, but questions regarding the timeline for the deployment of the fix have lingered.

In its investigation, the Attorney General’s office will be focusing on Apple’s slow response to the FaceTime bug. A consumer first reported the bug to Apple more than a week before it was shared widely in the media.

“We’re launching an investigation into Apple’s failure to warn consumers about the FaceTime privacy breach & their slow response to addressing the issue,” James said. “New Yorkers shouldn't have to choose between their private communications & their privacy rights.”

The Attorney General’s office will be evaluating Apple’s actions in relation to the laws set forth by the State of New York, James noted.

“We must use every tool at our disposal to ensure that consumers are always protected,” she added.

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