New York officials have launched an investigation into Apple’s FaceTime bug that allowed iPhone users to hear through someone else’s iPhone without permission.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the investigation on Wednesday, saying it will probe Apple’s “failure to warn consumers about the FaceTime bug and slow response to addressing the issue.”

{mosads}”The bug jeopardized the privacy of consumers in New York by allowing users to receive audio and video from the device of the person they are calling even before the person has accepted or rejected the call,” James and Cuomo said in the press release.

Apple said Monday that it had disabled Group FaceTime, a new feature, while they work to fix the bug that allowed iPhone users to hear through someone else’s phone even if the person didn’t answer their FaceTime call. 

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Apple did not immediately respond after a user reported the bug earlier this month. They did not announce the bug or disable Group FaceTime until Monday, more than a week after a user first came across it on Jan. 19.

“New Yorkers shouldn’t have to choose between their private communications and their privacy rights,” James said in a statement. “This FaceTime breach is a serious threat to the security and privacy of the millions of New Yorkers who have put their trust in Apple and its products over the years.”

“My office will be conducting a thorough investigation into Apple’s response to the situation, and will evaluate the company’s actions in relation to the laws set forth by the State of New York. We must use every tool at our disposal to ensure that consumers are always protected,” she added.

Apple in a statement reported by the Times said the company will release a software update this week with a fix to the bug. 

The bug occurred when users made a FaceTime call to another user and then added themselves to the call through the group call feature. It affected millions of people before Group FaceTime was temporarily disabled on Monday, according to the Times.

Apple did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on Wednesday.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long said the company is focused on maintaining privacy protections.

Experts have said the breach, colloquially dubbed “FacePalm,” was particularly egregious because it provided unauthorized access to iPhone microphones and video, the Times reported.

“New Yorkers deserve to know that their phones are safe and cannot be used against them,” Cuomo said in a statement. “In the wake of this egregious bug that put the privacy of New Yorkers at risk, I am calling on the Attorney General to investigate this serious consumer rights issue.”

“We need a full accounting of the facts to confirm businesses are abiding by New York consumer protection laws and to help make sure this type of privacy breach does not happen again,”  he said.


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