It’s been a rough couple of days for Apple, as the company is still trying to fix a massive glitch in Facetime that allows consumers to hear audio from users added to group calls before they pick up. It’s not known how long the glitch has existed, but the details of it became widespread knowledge yesterday and prompted Apple to disable the feature entirely. As it turns out, a 14-year-old Arizona teenager discovered the glitch last week while setting up a group chat of Fortnite players, inadvertently finding himself at ground zero for a massive privacy breach debacle.
The teenager discovered the issue on January 20th while setting up a group chat for his friends ahead of a weekend Fortnite session. As he added his pals into the group video chat, he realized that he could hear audio from users he had just added to the group chat before they’d even picked up. He notified his mom, Michele Thompson, who then tried to inform Apple about the glitch.
The proactive mother went through several mediums in an effort to garner a response from Apple, including phone, fax, Facebook, and Twitter, where she even tried to reach out to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Unfortunately, none of these mediums garnered an immediate response from Apple.
An Apple support representative did call her back later on in the day, but he told her that there wasn’t anything she could do. In order to submit a bug report, she’d need to set up a developer account with Apple and submit it through the company’s bug report program. As per Apple policy, this program requires that users have both an Apple ID and a developer account in order to submit bug reports. Registered users who discover new bugs may be paid a cash bounty by Apple for catching the glitch before it becomes widespread knowledge.
Ms. Thompson proceeded to register a developer account, hoping that she would win a bounty for pointing out the massive privacy-impeding glitch. She communicated with the Apple security team before the weekend, but the glitch became widespread knowledge during the next week before the issue was resolved. She isn’t sure whether she will still get the bounty, but at the very least her son was able to give Apple somewhat of a heads-up – though the company didn’t make it easy to do so. Apple is now scurrying to fix the issue, an act that could potentially be resolved faster all thanks to an early heads-up from a 14-year-old Fortnite fan.
Source: Wall Street Journal