Apple Sued over FaceTime Eavesdropping Glitch

January 30, 2019, 9:46 AM UTC

Apple Inc. was sued by a Houston lawyer who claims his iPhone inadvertently allowed an unknown person to eavesdrop on his private conversation with a client.

Apple has come under fire for a bug in its iOS 12.1 iPhone software that lets outsiders listen to conversations held during live video group chats using the company’s FaceTime feature.

Attorney Larry Williams II said the glitch intrudes on the privacy of “one’s most intimate conversations without consent,” according to the complaint he filed in state court in Houston. He said he was eavesdropped on while taking sworn testimony during a client deposition.

Williams is seeking unspecified punitive damages on his claims of negligence, product liability, misrepresentation and warranty breach.

Apple representatives didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment on the complaint.

The bug allowed a user to call someone on FaceTime and automatically begin hearing the other person before they picked up the call. The other person wasn’t aware that the caller can hear them.

This glitch would occur when a user created a FaceTime conference call, put in their phone number, and then added the number of another person. The flaw also allowed video to be sent if the other user clicked either their power button or one of the volume controls.

Apple mitigated the problem on Monday by remotely disabling multi-person FaceTime. It also said it would release a software update later this week to fix the issue.