Revelations of a bug that allows an iPhone user to listen in on another FaceTime user came on the day designed to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices and on which Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted on the importance of privacy protection.
The news site 9to5Mac reported on the bizarre glitch that can enable an iPhone user to call another iPhone and, by creating a Group Facetime call, listen in even if the call’s recipient hasn’t answered. As a result, the Group FaceTime service has been temporarily shut down, Business Insider reported.
Apple said it was aware of the glitch and had found a fix that would be released in a software update later this week. But by then the problem had already gone viral on social media.
Meanwhile, concerns about intrusion and the use of often-intimate personal data continue to grow – Bloomberg highlighted the 100 million-plus women around the world who use apps to track their menstrual cycle.
These apps don’t have to comply with the privacy requirements expected of doctors or clinics, Bloomberg reported. And the result, in many cases, is data mining that is then used to target users with ads.
Some apps also encourage women to record their mood, sex drive, even whether their skin is pimply – all of which leads to a much richer dive into personal data.
Elsewhere, Google is reported to be planning to package and sell location data from millions of cellphones. The initiative from Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, wants to use the data to model people’s movements across entire cities to then market to urban planners, according to The Intercept.
As the data-harvesting sector finds ever more creative ways to collect, analyse, package and sell its product, governance tries to keep up.
One of the latest personal-data leakage revelations involves new evidence about how ad auction companies, including Google, profile users’ highly personal details, including ethnicity, religious affiliations, diseases, and disabilities, plus sexual orientation and history. Brave, the open source browser, reports that complaints have been filed in Poland, the UK and Ireland.
In the US, meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is said to be re-evaluating its agenda in the light of growing concerns about data use and personal privacy.
Commissioner Rohit Chopra, one of five FTC leaders, told AdExchanger that the organization isn’t prepared to wait for new legislation to act. It will instead refocus its efforts using existing tools to do the job, rather than waiting for a possible federal privacy law, he said.
Sourced from Bloomberg, The Intercept, Business Insider, Ad Exchanger, Brave, 9to5Mac; additional content by WARC staff