Dayton Daily News

Apple releases update to fix FaceTime

- By Michael Liedtke

— Apple has SAN FRANCISCO released an iPhone update to fix a software flaw that allowed people to eavesdrop on others while using FaceTime.

The bug enabled interloper­s to turn an iPhone into a live microphone while using Group FaceTime. Callers were able to activate another person’s microphone remotely even before the person has accepted or rejected the call.

Apple turned off the group-chat feature last week, after a 14-yearold boy in Tucson, Arizona, discovered the flaw. The teenager, Grant Thompson, and his mother said they unsuccessf­ully tried to contact the company about the problem for more than a week. Apple has been criticized for the delay in responding and has promised to improve procedures.

The FaceTime repair is included in the latest version of Apple’s iOS 12 system, which became available to install Thursday.

Although the FaceTime bug has now been addressed, its emergence is particular­ly embarrassi­ng for Apple. The bug exposed Apple customers to potential surveillan­ce at a time that CEO Tim Cook has been repeatedly declaring that personal privacy is a “fundamenta­l human right.”

Cook also has publicly skewered Facebook and Google, two companies that collect personal informatio­n to sell advertisin­g, for not doing enough to protect people’s privacy.

Apple credited Thompson for discoverin­g the FaceTime bug as part of its software update.

Thompson will be rewarded for his sleuthing. Apple plans to contribute to his college fund in addition to paying a bounty to him and his family for reporting the bug.

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