Yesterday was #DataPrivacyDay, and yet today we bring you news of another privacy breach — this time concerning Apple's Group FaceTime. As first reported by 9to5Mac, a serious bug was discovered that lets users call anyone with FaceTime and then instantly hear the audio coming from their recipient's phone — before the recipient has even accepted or declined the incoming call. Nothing short of creepy, and the person on the receiving end gets no indication of the caller's ability to hear their audio.
The way it works: Request to FaceTime with a contact, and while it's ringing, click Add Person. Add in your own number, and you will enter into a Group FaceTime call, which lets you listen in on the audio of the person you called. And it doesn't stop at audio creeping — it has also been reported that if the recipient of the call presses the power button on the side of their phone or one of the volume up/down buttons while their audio is connected to the caller, they will also transmit the video feed from their phone to the caller.
Now you can answer for yourself on FaceTime even if they don’t answer?#Apple explain this.. pic.twitter.com/gr8llRKZxJ— Benji Mobb™ (@BmManski) January 28, 2019
In a statement today, Governor Andrew Cuomo advised New Yorkers to disable FaceTime: "The FaceTime bug is an egregious breach of privacy that puts New Yorkers at risk. In New York, we take consumer rights very seriously and I am deeply concerned by this irresponsible bug that can be exploited for unscrupulous purposes."
In response, Apple said last night that it has since disabled group FaceTime, and told Refinery29 that it will release a software update later this week with a fix for the glitch. Until then, we suggest you disable your FaceTime altogether by going to your iPhone settings, scrolling down, and sliding the FaceTime button to off. (And if you use FaceTime on your computer, we suggest doing the same on all of your devices.)