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Texas Attorney Sues Apple Over FaceTime Bug
A lawyer from Houston, Texas has sued Apple over the security flaw with its FaceTime feature that allowed anyone with an iPhone to listen in on any other iPhone user’s conversation, without that person knowing you were eavesdropping.
Larry Williams II, the Texas attorney, claims that the iPhone bug allowed a person to record a client’s sworn testimony, as CNBC reports.
His lawsuit, filed Monday in Harris County, Texas, alleges that Apple “failed to exercise reasonable care” and that Apple “knew, or should have known, that its Product would cause unsolicited privacy breaches and eavesdropping.” It alleged Apple did not adequately test its software and that Apple was “aware there was a high probability at least some consumers would suffer harm.”
The suit says that Williams was “undergoing a private deposition with a client when this defective product breached allowed for the recording” of the conversation.
Williams argues in his suit that because of the alleged incident, he “sustained permanent and continuous injuries, pain and suffering and emotional trauma that will continue into the future” and that he “lost ability to earn a living and will continued to be so in the future,” according to CNBC.
The existence of the security flaw with FaceTime was first reported by 9to5mac.com, a news site for Apple fans. Here’s how the site described the bug:
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. Until Apple fixes the bug, it’s not clear how to defend yourself against this attack either aside from disabling FaceTime altogether.
As it stands, if your phone is ringing with an incoming FaceTime request, the person on the other end could be listening in.
What we have also found is that if the person presses the Power button from the Lock screen, their video is also sent to the caller — unbeknownst to them. In this situation, the receiver can now hear your own audio, but they do not know they are transmitting their audio and video back to you. From their perspective, all they can see is accept and decline. (Another update: It seems there are other ways of triggering the video feed eavesdrop too.)
“We’re aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week,” Apple said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that Apple waited a week after being alerted of the flaw by a mother in Arizona before taking action, only reacting after the 9to5mac.com article went viral.