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Apple FaceTime Bug

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2019 file photo, the Apple logo is displayed at the Apple store in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Apple has made the group chat function in FaceTime unavailable, Tuesday Jan. 29, 2019, after users said there was a bug that could allow callers to activate another user's microphone remotely. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that the state has launched an investigation into Apple's handling of a bug within its FaceTime software that allowed eavesdropping on iPhones. 

The glitch was revealed this week and Apple announced that it would disable the group FaceTime feature until it's fixed. But questions have been raised about how long the company knew about the bug and whether it was slow to respond. 

Reports indicate the bug was first discovered by a 14-year-old in Arizona, who discovered that he could see and hear his friend by placing a FaceTime call. The problem: His friend didn't accept the call. The bug could allow users to see and hear the recipient, even if the other party didn't accept the FaceTime request. 

James said her office will review Apple's response to the bug and determine whether any New York laws were violated. 

"New Yorkers shouldn't have to choose between their private communications and their privacy rights," James said. "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." 

Cuomo issued a consumer alert on Monday notifying New Yorkers of the glitch. His office encouraged iPhone users to disable FaceTime until Apple fixes the bug. 

In a statement, Cuomo described the bug as "egregious."

"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. 

The Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection will accept consumer complaints related to the FaceTime bug through its helpline, 1-800-697-1220. The helpline is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

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