House Democrats want Apple to answer questions on a FaceTime flaw where Apple ignored a warning that a basic software stuff-up found by a 13 year-old turned iPhone’s into spy devices.
Two key US House of Representatives Democrats are concerned that the teenager and his mother tried for days to warn the iPhone maker of the bug.
Apple said on Friday it had fixed the issue with FaceTime and said it planned to improve how it handles reports of software bugs.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone and Representative Jan Schakowsky, who chairs a subcommittee overseeing consumer issues said in a letter they were “deeply troubled” over how long it took Apple to address the security flaw.
They want to know when Apple first learned of the issue, the extent to which the flaw may have compromised consumers’ privacy, and if “there are other undisclosed bugs that currently exist and have not been addressed”.
“Your company and others must proactively ensure devices and applications protect consumer privacy, immediately act when a vulnerability is identified and address any harm caused when you fail to meet your obligations to consumers”, the Democrats wrote. “We do notbelieve Apple has been as transparent as this serious issue requires.”
Over the years of reporting Apple we have noticed that its standard strategy is to sit on a bug until it gets widely reported, release a patch and then claim it only affected a small number of people. Apple did act comparatively quickly in this case, but it was such a serious bug it could not have done otherwise. The fact it knew about the problem and didn't fix it until there was an outcry has already resulted in a court case.