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U.S. District Court Dismisses Group FaceTime iOS 12.1 Eavesdropping Bug Lawsuit Against Apple

U.S. District Court Dismisses Group FaceTime iOS 12.1 Eavesdropping Bug Lawsuit Against Apple

A U.S. District Court in Houston has dismissed a lawsuit against Apple over a Group FaceTime bug in iOS 12.1 that allowed third-parties to eavesdrop on conversations.

The suit was lodged in a Houston, Texas, court by a lawyer claiming the FaceTime glitch enabled an unknown party to listen in on a private call he was conducting with a client.

According to court documents, Larry Williams II said the intrusion occurred as he was taking sworn testimony during a client deposition.

The court dismissed the case for several reasons. Plaintiff Williams claimed Apple was “strictly liable” to him because it failed to give people warnings or instructions about the glitch, alleged that the bug made iOS 12.1 “unreasonably dangerous.” However, District Judge Lee Rosenthal said Williams didn’t assert facts that could show Apple had foreknowledge of the problem or the possibility that someone would listen in on Williams’s conversations.

The court also rejected Williams claims of negligence, as Williams didn’t indicate duty of care or how it was breached. Charges of fraud and breaching warranty, as he did reference any specific promises made by Apple.

Williams can submit an amended complaint by June 7. If he fails to do so, the case can be dismissed without prejudice, which prevents him from initiating any further actions.

In January, it was reported that Apple was working to address a major Group FaceTime bug that allowed FaceTime users to hear audio and see video from another user, even if the party didn’t answer the call. Camera access was also possible, and was granted if the invitee interacted with the hardware buttons, such as pressing the power button to decline the call and silence the ringtone.

Later, we learned that the mother of the 14-year-old iOS user that discovered the security flaw had notified Apple about the issue. Michele G Thompson, a lawyer, posted to Twitter a series of emails and bug reports sent to Apple detailing her son’s discovery. The company eventually paid the teen through its bug bounty program, and also contributed to his education.

iOS 12.1.4 was released in early February, which fixed the Group FaceTime bug.

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