Apple Sued Over FaceTime Eavesdropping Bug

HOUSTON (CN) – An attorney in Houston filed a lawsuit late Monday claiming he was conducting a deposition with a client when he encountered Apple’s latest bug that allowed others to access his iPhone’s microphone without him answering a FaceTime call.

According to the complaint filed in Harris County District Court and numerous media reports Monday evening, the bug, which came with a recent rollout of group video calls, allowed people to call another iPhone using the FaceTime application and listen through their microphone without the end user needing to answer the call.

“Essentially the product converts a person’s personal iPhone into a microphone that can be answered by an unknown third party to listen and record one’s most intimate conversation without consent,” the lawsuit from Larry D. Williams II states.  

Apple shut down its FaceTime servers Monday evening to address the issue.

Williams – represented by another Houston attorney, James Mattox III – alleges that not only was the bug intrusive, but Apple did not give any notice or warn the public about the problems associated with iOS update 12.1 and its “failure to withstand its normal and intended use.”

A spokesperson for Apple told CNET that it was “aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.”

Williams claims the update allowed for “unsolicited eavesdropping.”

“Plaintiff was undergoing a private deposition with a client when the defective product breach allowed for the recording of a private deposition,” the lawsuit states.

Adding a dose of irony to the issue, reports of the bug came to light on Data Privacy Day, which Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted about on Monday.

“We must keep fighting for the kind of world we want to live in,” Cook wrote. “On this #DataPrivacyDay let us all insist on action and reform for vital privacy protections. The dangers are real and the consequences are too important.”

Neither Apple nor Williams’ attorney could be reached for comment about the lawsuit Tuesday morning.

Williams seeks punitive damages against Apple and unknown parties for claims of product liability, negligence, warranty and fraudulent misrepresentation.

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