A few weeks back there was a bug discovered in FaceTime that allowed people to eaves drop on other iPhone or Mac users without their knowledge when using the Group FaceTime function.
As soon as the bug was discovered (by a 13 year old boy) Apple shut down the group chat service and set about fixing the error in software update. (Which as already been delivered so please make sure that your Mac and iOS device are up to date.)
They also awarded the young man a healthy amount of money to say thanks for bringing it to their attention.
But at the time the press went nuts! Brian Tong, a well respected Apple pundit, had scathing things to say about Apple and their “hypocrisy” at, on one hand, fighting for users privacy and on other allowing bugs like this into the wild. Even the political YouTube channel TYT got in on the act , poking fun at how much money Apple had and how many talented people they had on staff and yet this still happened!
Well I am sorry but this is totally ridiculous and the worse kind of posturing.
Yes, it was a bad bug.
Yes, the timing was bad and Apple did look a little stupid.
But… there is a huge, I mean cavernous hole, a gap so wide you’ll need a team of French engineers to build a bridge, between screwing up code that results in a privacy violation and deliberately writing code that is designed to violate your privacy. (I am looking at you Facebook, Google and Android)
Code is, at least at the moment, written by humans and humans make mistakes. Sometimes huge, sometimes small. If a plane or rocket, some of the most advanced and complex machines ever built, can malfunction because of, you guessed it, human efforts, then so can a software package. To scoff at Qantas who might, one day in the future, promote the fact that they have never had a disaster ever only to have a tragic accident the following week would be incredibly small minded in my opinion.
Yes, I agree it should never have happened and I, like everyone else, am very grateful to the nerdling that found the bug and reported it. But I don’t think a companies stated ambition should be decried if they slip up. It’s their intention and continued efforts that I am more concerned with.
As Doctor McCoy once said to Spock; “I think the captain has more faith in your guesses than most other people’s facts.”
Temporary bugs and all, I still feel like my data is safer in Apple’s hands than most other tech companies out there.