U.S. Committee Sends Letter to Tim Cook Asking for Answers About Group FaceTime Eavesdropping Flaw

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The U.S. Committee on Energy & Commerce is now seeking answers from Apple over the Group FaceTime flaw that allowed people to eavesdrop on conversations.

    Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) today sent a letter [PDF] to Apple CEO Tim Cook questioning the company about how long it took Apple to address the Group FaceTime flaw, the extent to which the flaw compromised consumer privacy, and whether there are other undisclosed bugs in existence.

    The two representatives ask Apple to be transparent about the investigation into the Group FaceTime vulnerability, and the steps that are being taken to protect consumer privacy going forward. Apple has not been as transparent as "this serious issue requires," according to the letter.

    Pallone and Schakowsky ask Apple a number of key questions, including the following:

    [*]When did your company first identify the Group FaceTime vulnerability that enabled individuals to access the camera and microphone of devices before accepting a FaceTime call? Did your company identify the vulnerability before being notified by Mr. Thompson's mother?
    [*]Did any other customer notify Apple of the vulnerability?
    [*]Please provide a timeline of exactly what steps were taken and when they were taken to address the vulnerability after it was initially identified.
    [*]What steps are being taken to identify which FaceTime users' privacy interests were violated using the vulnerability? Does Apple intend to notify and compensate those consumers for the violation?
    [*]When will Apple provide notification to affected consumers?
    [*]Are there other vulnerabilities in Apple devices and applications that currently or potentially could result in unauthorized access to microphones and/or cameras?
    Apple CEO Tim Cook will be expected to provide answers to the questions provided in the letter.

    The FaceTime vulnerability came to light last Monday after details spread across social media and news sites quickly picked it up. The bug allowed a person to force a FaceTime call with another person, giving them access to the audio (and sometimes video) from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac without the person ever accepting the FaceTime call.

    Apple disabled Group FaceTime on its servers to prevent the bug from being used, and the company is still working on an iOS 12.1.4 update that we are expecting to see this week.

    While Apple addressed the bug after it went viral on social media, the company was informed of the issue at least a week before when a teenager discovered it and his mother attempted to contact Apple. Though she sent in multiple reports, they did not go to the right people, and Apple has since apologized and said it is committed to improving the bug reporting process.

    Apple is already facing a lawsuit over the Group FaceTime issue and New York officials are also investigating.

    Article Link: U.S. Committee Sends Letter to Tim Cook Asking for Answers About Group FaceTime Eavesdropping Flaw
  2. mozumder macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    Probably not a good idea to have a congressional hearing about every software bug..

    Let Apple's track record about privacy speak for itself.
  3. PS8409 macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2013
  4. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    What a waste of time the letter is. Apple addressed it and the fix is being released soon.
  5. AngerDanger macrumors 68040


    Dec 9, 2008
    Whoa, little fella, what are you doing outside of the PRSI?
  6. thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
    They took over a week to respond to the formal complaint. That is not an acceptable grace period for 'privacy being top priority' in my view:


    I think Apple is throwing stones from a glass house, and this won't be the last hiccup of theirs related to privacy
  7. dumastudetto macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2013
    Why would anyone in authority concern themselves with customer privacy when they want backdoors inserted so they can spy on everyone with ease?
    A more honest question would be why can't you create these flaws for us to exploit Mr. Cook?
  8. Marcus PM macrumors regular

    Marcus PM

    Aug 9, 2011
    The issues are being addressed. The letter seems a little strong.
  9. weup togo macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2016
    >Tim Cook: Yes.

    What a stupid question. There are millions of "undisclosed" bugs in existence. Triaging them is often more difficult than fixing them.
  10. ClockWork72 macrumors newbie


    Jan 8, 2016
    Los Angeles
    More political attention seeking BS! What they should really focus on are these Social media sites that are purposely taking advantage of people rather than mistakes that they don’t even understand and are being fixed.

  11. btrach144 macrumors 65816


    Aug 28, 2015
    The concern here is that it took Apple 1+ week to respond to a severity 0 issue.
  12. Khedron macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2013
    What track record?
    • Their newest hardware product (HomePod) let anyone bypass security to access private messages on a connected iPhone.
    • Their latest software product (Group FaceTime) let anyone bypass security to access audio/video on an iPhone.
    • Their App Store has recently been exposed to be filled with numerous apps breaking the terms of service to sell users' data.
  13. Konigi macrumors member


    Jan 24, 2017
    Montréal, Québec
    The patch is taking longer than expected to be released. This looks suspicious.
  14. lederermc macrumors 6502


    Sep 30, 2014
    And only a fool would have tried to add himself to a session as a three-way.
  15. weup togo macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2016

    Apple shut off the bug by disabling the feature that exposed it. There is no rush to release a patch because there is no possible exploit. If they rushed a hack out you'd be *****ing that they shipped buggy software.
  16. whyamihere macrumors 6502


    Jun 30, 2008
    Yes. We have gone into the future and determined all bugs and came back to the present to resolve them. :rolleyes:
  17. KGBguy macrumors regular


    Feb 19, 2015
    USSR 2.0
    The agents of the Beast are looking for another way to extort some more money under the pretense of "protecting the people" crap.....lol
  18. calzon65 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
  19. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
    They found out about the bug AFTER it went VIRAL. In other word, they been deaf till someone gave apple a sign language. Interesting
  20. Baymowe335 macrumors 68040

    Oct 6, 2017
  21. pat500000 macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2015
    They went beyond grace period. They still haven’t fixed it.
  22. bigboy29 macrumors regular

    May 19, 2016
    Politicians love to make it sound like they care about your privacy. When really, they are ticked off that government agencies did not know about this first (or if they did, that Apple will now fix it).
  23. macsrcool1234 macrumors 65816

    Oct 7, 2010
    People at Apple should be jailed for their handling of a bug of this magnitude.
  24. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    Oh you mean their products aren’t perfect and bugs will always exist? You need to get out more.
  25. Ferc Kast macrumors 6502

    Ferc Kast

    Sep 26, 2012
    Ohio, USA
    Oh, so they shouldn't have turned off Group Facetime while fixing this bug? Or they shouldn't test their fix before releasing it to the public, potentially leaving the issue unresolved? Gee, how irresponsible of Apple. :rolleyes:

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