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AG James, Cuomo announce investigation into Apple FaceTime privacy breach

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Wed, Jan 30th 2019 04:10 pm

To report complaints related to FaceTime bug, call 1-800-697-1220

Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced an investigation into Apple’s failure to warn consumers about the FaceTime bug and “slow response” to addressing the issue. The bug jeopardized the privacy of consumers in New York by allowing users to receive audio and video from the device of the person they are calling even before the person accepted or rejected the call.

“New Yorkers shouldn’t have to choose between their private communications and their privacy rights,” James said. “This FaceTime breach is a serious threat to the security and privacy of the millions of New Yorkers who have put their trust in Apple and its products over the years. My office will be conducting a thorough investigation into Apple’s response to the situation, and will evaluate the company’s actions in relation to the laws set forth by the state of New York. We must use every tool at our disposal to ensure that consumers are always protected.”

“New Yorkers deserve to know that their phones are safe and cannot be used against them,” Cuomo said. “In the wake of this egregious bug that put the privacy of New Yorkers at risk, I am calling on the attorney general to investigate this serious consumer rights issue. We need a full accounting of the facts to confirm businesses are abiding by New York consumer protection laws and to help make sure this type of privacy breach does not happen again.”

As part of the investigation, the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection is accepting consumer complaints related to the FaceTime bug. The helpline (1-800-697-1220) is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

The AG’s office said, “Reports indicate the bug was raised with Apple by a consumer more than a week before it was shared widely in the media, and the company took action to disable the affected feature of the app until it releases a fix.” 

On Monday, Cuomo issued a consumer alert about the bug and advised FaceTime users to temporarily disable the app until Apple issues a fix.

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