New Apple FaceTime bug means people might be able to listen in on your every move
As wonderful as modern technology may be, it is becoming a burden on society in many respects. Parents are worried their children aren't reaching their full potential in school because they're too busy Snapchatting their friends, the dating scene has evolved into hookup culture thanks to apps like Tinder and Bumble, and, because of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, outrage culture has emerged out of everybody constantly shouting their opinions about things.
And to top it all off: it turns out FaceTime can be used to spy on people.
According to CNBC, it is possible to get audio and visual of someone by FaceTiming them, even if they haven't picked up the call.
The bug can be exploited through the group call function. If a person calls a friend, then uses the menu option to add themselves to the call, they will be able to hear what's going on through their friend's phone before they pick up. What's more, if the friend they call hits the power button in order to reject the FaceTime request, the person will see video of what's going on at the other end of the line, but not audio.
At no point is the friend notified that they can be seen or heard.
"We're aware of this issue and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week," an Apple spokesperson said.
Understandably, people are more than a little freaked out by this.
This is not the first time that people have been at risk of being spied on thanks to their apps.
Back in 2017, a company called Lovense had to dish out $3.75 million in compensation after allegedly spying on people during while they were using app-controlled sex toys. Unbeknownst to users, the app was recording audio while the toys were in use, and then saving the files to discreet locations on the user's phone.
A representative for the company addressed the issue on Reddit, and assured users that their data had not been used by the company at all:
"Regarding the sound file in question, it has already been confirmed that this is a minor bug - a temporary file that is created when someone uses the Sound Control feature. Your concern is completely understandable. But rest assured, no information or data is sent to our servers.
"This cache file currently remains on you phone instead of deleting itself once your session is finished. Also, when the file is created it overwrites itself (no new files are created)."
Thankfully, Apple's "bug" isn't quite as worrying as the Lovense mishap (we hope), but it does prompt a very important question: are we too trusting of technology?
You may be of the opinion that the occasional glitch like this is worth the benefits of 21st-century tech, or you might think it's only a matter of time before we're all being constantly spied on without our knowledge (if we're not already). Either way, if you're someone who uses FaceTime, it's probably best that you delete the app for now and re-install it when the bug is fixed.
Until then, take extra special care when responding to calls.