Canadian law firm applies for class action lawsuit against Apple over FaceTime eavesdropping bug

“Montréal-based law firm Lambert Avocat Inc. has applied for a class action lawsuit against Apple with the Superior Court of Québec, seeking compensation for all persons exposed to a major FaceTime privacy bug that enabled users to eavesdrop on the people they call, according to its website,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors.

“The proposed lawsuit seeks compensation for all Canadians who used FaceTime on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 12.1 or later, or a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.4.1 or later, in their possession,” Rossignol reports. “This is the first pending class action lawsuit against Apple we know of in relation to the FaceTime bug.”

Rossignol reports, “Due to the serious privacy implications of the FaceTime bug, there may be more class action lawsuits to follow in the United States and elsewhere.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When you’re shouting about privacy being a fundamental human right and advocating for comprehensive federal privacy legislation, but then release slipshod, poorly-tested software that allows callers to hear and/or see even a second of audio/video without receivers’ permission – and the news breaks on Data Privacy Day, no less – plus you were informed of the flaw at least a week prior, you’re going to pay a price of some sort. Obviously, we’ll see if the price Apple pays for more sloppiness crosses from reputation hit into monetary territory soon enough.

It’s worth remembering that Group FaceTime was delayed back in August 2018 and did not debut in iOS 12 on September 17, 2018 but in iOS 12.1 on October 30, 2018, the day of Apple’s iPad Pro event. Was it rushed to make the event deadline? In hindsight, it seems so.

New York state begins probe into Apple’s slow response to FaceTime eavesdropping flaw – January 30, 2019
Apple sued over FaceTime bug that lets people eavesdrop – January 30, 2019
Apple was alerted about FaceTime eavesdropping bug days ago, did nothing – January 29, 2019
Apple, champion of ‘privacy,’ utterly blows it with massively stupid FaceTime bug – January 29, 2019
Apple to patch audio bug in FaceTime that allows users to hear audio and see video from users who have not yet accepted a call – January 29, 2019
Apple CEO Cook calls for U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation in TIME op-ed – January 17, 2019
Apple releases iOS 12.1 with Group FaceTime, Depth Control in Camera, and more – October 30, 2018
Group FaceTime is only the latest of many Apple technologies to be delayed – August 17, 2018
Apple removes Group FaceTime from iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, delays launch to later this year – August 13, 2018
Apple CEO Cook promotes privacy as ‘fundamental human right’ via tweetstorm; asks ‘What kind of world do we want to live in?’ – October 24, 2018
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015


    1. @TxUser

      If only it were that simple. QA and QC have been non-existent at Apple since Jobs passed away. Jobs had a legion of employees dedicated soley to those specific tasks. They have since either left, were forced out, or reassigned because of incompetence, politics, and outright BS.

      Cook did the same thing with developers (some who had even worked on the first Mac and even LISA). These folks were HORRIFIED with the new culture.

      Tim Cook’s Apple is out of control. If they don’t fire Cook soon, Apple will get completely destroyed.

      Cook has literal

      1. User and Melvin are well known Apple Apologists around here. You will NEVER hear one word of criticism from either of them even if it is constructive. Both totally incapable of evaluating Apple logically and intelligently, so moving on from useless opinions.

        The MDN take is superb once again and rightly questions Cook AGAIN and AGAIN who is clueless with Teflon impunity like ALL politicians.

        To relentlessly lecture the WORLD on privacy when you can’t even manage your own software team is PROOF POSITIVE you are out or touch, out of YOUR LEAGUE and it is time to GO.

        May the lawsuit SUCCEED and the money lost CONVINCE the board of directors, FINALLY, to CORRECT this epic mistake and search for a qualified CEO…

      2. GeoB is our well known deaf person around here. He has not heard all of the criticism I have offered Apple over the years, even on issues where we agree like on the SE. He only listens when it pleases him, like his favorite person, who is perfectly capable of watching a public congressional hearing live on national television and then argue that the witnesses were misquoted.

        I did not suggest that Apple was flawless in this, only that failing to be flawless is not legally actionable without proven damages. This is not like a price-fixing case where everyone who buys the overpriced product has financial damage. Here, we do not know of anyone who is a real-world victim.

        1. “GeoB is our well known deaf person around here.“

          Not even close.

          But I leave it up to others to make up their own minds. Certainly not up to the King and Queen of MDN Apple Apologists…

    2. Exactly, TxUser! That is the exactly what I thought when I saw the headline – you cannot sue for recompense without damages, and I find it unlikely that many (if any) people suffered damages that can be proven. Plus, I believe that there is language in all Apple EULAs that provides indemnification for Apple under most circumstances.

      As far as the MDN Take is concerned, I think that MDN is becoming a bit schizophrenic as it bounces around in its increasingly snarky and disgruntled opinions. The insight, wisdom, and attitude of Steve Jack has been lost and MDN is becoming just another raving critic. You hired Fwhatever, didn’t you?!

      1. Nearly every single time we’ve criticized Apple, it is due to lack of attention to detail.

        With Steve gone, it’s obvious that attention to detail has gone by the wayside in many areas.

        Apple brass, from the top down: The way to truly honor Steve Jobs is to agonize over every little detail. If you cannot manage to do that satisfactorily, go pound sand. — MacDailyNews, October 31, 2018

        Whose attitude is more like Steve Jobs’ views on attention to detail, Tim Cook’s or MacDailyNews’?

        Admit it, you’re just a weak-kneed apologist we can’t stand confrontation, high expectations or justified criticism, “KingMel.” Just like Tim Cook.

        1. When MDN or anyone on this site can show proof that they’ve ever found and reported a serious bug to Apple that Apple gas acknowledged, this whole thing was a fluke at best, and will be fixed soon enough.. Otherwise put up or shut up…

      2. Not challenging anyone, but in many class actions, particularly those involving consumers goods, you often do not need to “prove” you actually suffered any damage. Instead, you only declare so.
        For example, there was a class action lawsuit on the fixing the price of CT that is used on many appliances including TV and computers etc. The class action was successful and most mfrs of CRT were liable.
        and in one of the way to claim the damage you suffered (most households have due to the nature of the class action) was just to declare your name (I did for the heck of it, lol)
        Just to show there are different “flavours” of class action claims.
        In this “group facetime” class action, if successful, you would be eligible to claim compensation for a mere fact that you had an iPhone, lol. Don’t underestimate the power of ambulance chasers particularly in class actions.

          1. I was not challenging that many class actions are frivolous for the benefit of lawyers, and many are not successful. But I also do not underestimate the power of legitimate class action lawsuits.

        1. Though I agree with your premise, in that particular case the issue was price fixing, so there’s an inherent monetary damage that is not applicable in this FaceTime suit.

          It’s true that you don’t need to prove you actually bought a CRT during the affected period, but the likelihood is you or someone in your household at the time did.

    3. Well obviously damages have to be proven. Don’t assume that there are no damages, let the accuser make his case. It’s bad form to assume that Apple is perfect. Under Cook, the flaws have grown significantly.

  1. It seems Mr.Cook has a bit too many flaws in running a unique company like Apple. Anything QC/QA is one of the fundamental areas of principles in any engineering projects. Mr.Cook’s continuing failure in this particular area is perhaps due to his lack of keen awareness of the critical importance of QC (both H/A and S/W) to deliver fine products to consumers and the lack of depth in understanding the technology in general, which also led to the lack of visions. He does have an engineering background but worked too long concerning operational matters with a calculator in one hand and a P/L on the other, relentlessly pursuing the profit, which mostly a short term goal (he tends not to look beyond each quarter, let alone a year or longer) particularly in North America.

    1. Where is your evidence that Apple ships a higher proportion of defective products than any other company in the industry?. As the products, hardware and software, grow more complex, the risks grow exponentially. As the number of customers rises, so does the risk that someone will encounter a rare bug. We hold Apple to a higher standard, but the standard of absolute perfection is unattainable… even for a genus like Steve Jobs. You cannot sue just because the product had a minor flaw that was fixed within a week after the company discovered it, and that has not done ANY confirmed damage.

      1. You twisted my words to your convenience:-). Calm down! I never said that Apple ships a higher proportion of defective products than any other company in the industry. In general, I agree with what you are saying in that today’s products are increasingly complex and there is more probability of errors. That’s given. But there are certain particular failures that are regarded as a culmination of sloppiness which was almost becoming a pattern under Cook.
        iPad “bentgate” was one of them and “group facetime” is another. Don’t try to read anything more.

        1. “You twisted my words to your convenience:-).”

          Bravo for instinctual honesty. 👍🏻

          You should not be surprised as you are responding to the word salad maestro known for twisting words, incapable of directly answering or debating a post on its merits and only interested in deflective responses that favor Apple or his own beliefs.

          No matter, MANY Apple Apologists are irrelevant now and partly responsible as they stood by for eight years to admire profits and say NOTHING to acknowledge ALL the buggy software releases, overpricing, loss of ports, late product releases and IGNORANCE of the flagship product that BUILT APPLE — the Mac Pro…

          1. To PROVE my loyalty to Apple that respects users, when Apple releases the new 2019 Mac Pro, I will buy two – one of my left hand, and another for my right hand.

            This is because I am ambisextrous, which I used to think meant both bisexual and people who were PC and Mac users. I now know the correct word for that is amphibious, without any any PC/Mac ambiguity.

            It’s like all those athletes taking anobolic spheroids, small spherical drugs that they thought would make their muscles rounder and stronger.

            And people have the temerity to think I, or our MAGA Presidon’t Trump, are uneducated! Harumph!

      2. “You cannot sue just because the product had a minor flaw that was fixed within a week after the company discovered it, and that has not done ANY confirmed damage.”

        The suit was filed and that is what this MDN post is about, duh. No one needs your permission to file.

        Fixed? Ah, not yet.

        No damage? So you rushed to judgement and already litigated the case based on media reports. Obviously you are clueless when it comes to the legal profession. We shall see…

    2. Cook is not a visionary you never said he was nor did anybody else. The visionary known as jobs is dead. That simple. This is the new Apple doesn’t matter who is the CEO is

    3. This just doesn’t seem that damaging and Apple shut it down inside of a week. Maybe they could have acted a few days earlier. It’s not like you could silently turn on a camera or microphone for hours of eavesdropping.

      People think of Steve’s time with us in soft focus. Steve was great, but there were problems in those days as well. Remember antenna gate? Graphics cards problems in the laptops? Failing motherboards in the laptops? Peeling paint on Ti laptops? How about every year when a new version of the OS comes out and people gripe about how it bricked their computer, or ruined their battery?

      It’s sad that this happened, but this is not the end of the world.

      1. Please explain under what legal principle Apple should be liable for an unintentional product flaw that did not cause any damages. And no, “Tim Cook is a SJW” is not a viable cause of action, any more than “Judge Curiel is a Mexican-American” is a viable grounds for recusal. The American legal system is based on laws, not your personal preferences.

        1. Right in the first line, you already made a judgment of the premise of this class action.
          You already decided in lieu of a judge that the product flaw did not cause any damage when this is the very premises of this class action. So the rest of your argument is totally dismissed.
          Talking about a class action, what’s happening on the more serious battery/CPU throttling thing?

          1. No, the premise of the lawsuit is that everyone who was “exposed” to the defect by using FaceTime after a FREE software upgrade is entitled to damages whether they were personally affected or not. That’s not the law in the US, and I doubt it is the law in Canada

            1. Obviously, you do not understand how a class action works. And the fact that it was a FREE update or not have absolutely no relevance to it. But I am sick of this. Hope Apple can successfully defend it. BTW, Apple has so many class action lawsuit line up now. Some had concluded and Apple actually paid to a lot of general public. That’s why any class action should be taken seriously. Whether it was originated in the US or Canada again has no particular relevance. Anyway—

            2. And just wish to make it clear that I am not enjoying these class actions against Apple. My contention is the seeming deterioration of QC in many areas of what Apple has been doing in the last several years which tend to make Apple vulnerable to these lawsuits.

        2. “Please explain under what legal principle Apple should be liable for an unintentional product flaw that did not cause any damages.”

          Repeatedly on this thread you infer the trial is over, have a few beers, Apple wins and nothing to see here. Possibly the outcome, possibly not. But it is not up to Apple Apologists to decide. The legal power belongs in the courts.

          “And no, “Tim Cook is a SJW” is not a viable cause of action”

          What are you talking about twisted sister? My point that completely sailed over your “can’t read” head is very simply another arrow in the quiver of Cook distractions.

          CEO Cook is paid and accountable for attention to detail of ALL Apple products shipped, SAME as Jobs, NOT
          leading pride parades or SJW causes. What part do you not understand?…

        1. Why, with references to ambisextrosity and anabolic spheroids, of course. Just ask Presidon’t Trump – he knows where to grab answers and make them melt with squeamish desire.

  2. How laughable, a Canadian law firm expecting American legal Shark legal firms to bloody the waters over this error find out they they are the odd man out looking at a weak case that Apple has fixed by now. Really thought much more of the Canadian’s ethic and even more of Quebec.

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