Rumor: Apple capturing information on FaceTime calls (updated with Apple response)

Rumor: Apple capturing information on FaceTime calls (updated with Apple response)

Summary: Addictive Tips posted the details of an alleged conversation it had with a member of the "iPhone Development Department" who claims that not only are iPhone 4 calls made via FaceTime unencrypted, but that iOS 4 sends details of every FaceTime call back to Apple's mothership in Cupertino.According to its source, "FaceTime is going be the biggest privacy break ever.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Addictive Tips posted the details of an alleged conversation it had with a member of the "iPhone Development Department" who claims that not only are iPhone 4 calls made via FaceTime unencrypted, but that iOS 4 sends details of every FaceTime call back to Apple's mothership in Cupertino.

According to its source, "FaceTime is going be the biggest privacy break ever. It was the first thing that kinda set me on a rampage to leak info."

The problems are two. First, FaceTime's lack of security:

The issue is with Wifi is that anyone can get on a Wifi Signal and potentially see what the viewers and broadcasters are looking at without them know, now Apple will deny this and say its not our problem you were not on a secure connection, in my mind I think that its all bull****. People should be able to have some type of security during those calls.

The allegation is that iOS 4 sends Cupertino the details, including the parties involved and their locations, after every FaceTime call:

Worse yet is once a person connects to another person on FaceTime it, for some reason none of us in the office can figure out, sends us (APPLE) a message and says those two people are connecting via Facetime and gives out their location to us. So for whatever reason we need that information just blows my mind. As a consumer why would you need to let Apple know that you are connecting with a person via FaceTime, its none of Apple’s business.

Note: minor typos in the quotes were corrected.

Keep in mind that this is only a rumor at this point and remains unconfirmed. Hopefully someone in the developer/jailbreak community will be able to confirm or deny these serious allegations.

Emails to Apple for clarification on this issue weren't returned when this story was posted. I will update this post if/when they do.

Photo: PhotoBucket

Update: Apple has responded to the allegations with the following response:

The site you mention is alleging that FaceTime is sending user names and locations back to Cupertino after each FaceTime call. That is incorrect.

Apple creates a unique ID for each FaceTime user, ensuring FaceTime calls are routed and connected properly.  No other user information is stored for FaceTime and Apple cannot retrieve the data for any other purpose (it is stored in a hash format).  No location information is ever used or stored during FaceTime registration or a FaceTime conversation.  Additionally, the entire FaceTime conversation stream itself is encrypted.

Topic: Apple

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16 comments
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  • Excellent example of tabloid journalism...

    We have an unconfirmed rumor.... OOOOO...

    Why don't you report on facts and not FUD.
    Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: Rumor: Apple capturing information on FaceTime calls

      @JM1981

      They get away with not reporting facts and writing articles that will cause a flame war by calling it a blog. I remember when ZDNet used to be a Technology News and unbiased review site. Oh those were the days.
      bobiroc
    • This is seriously irresponsible

      Spreading rumors without giving the accused party a chance to respond is just not right. Bad form.

      How long did you wait for a response from Apple before posting this? Minutes?
      RationalGuy
  • Google remote install/removal & tracking you 24/7 did not interest Jason

    because <b>this would not cause anyhow this much cheap click-ratings as Apple-related yellow journalism will.</b>
    DDERSSS
    • Quick, appologize for Apple!

      But then again, something tells me that <font color="red"><b>you're paid to try and make bad Apple press go away</b></font>
      John Zern
  • Relax, Apple is not Google

    User information are use to enhance the Apple experience. They're not going steal your information like Google and sell it to advertisers.
    iPad-awan
    • RE: Rumor: Apple capturing information on FaceTime calls

      @iPad-awan Yeah, so my private phone calls are Apple's business but not Google's? Are you fucking high?
      Droid101
      • RE: Rumor: Apple capturing information on FaceTime calls

        @Droid101 No he's saying that Apple would not do something like this while it's standard behavior from Google.

        As NZ would say Cue the Double Standards!
        athynz
    • Apple will keep your information

      My precioussssss....
      paul2011
  • RE: Rumor: Apple capturing information on FaceTime calls

    So do we have actual proof of this? [b]

    Addictive Tips posted the details of an alleged conversation it had with a member of the ?iPhone Development Department? who claims that not only are iPhone 4 calls made via FaceTime unencrypted, but that iOS 4 sends details of every FaceTime call back to Apple?s mothership in Cupertino.[/b]

    Ahh so it is an "alleged conversation" with someone who claims to be a "...member of the iPhone Development Department..." So no real proof then.
    athynz
  • Maybe an overreaction

    I would like to hear confirmation on this either way but like someone else said it could be quality control information to make the product works better and be used to offer better quality later. Now if they are getting personal information in this data collection then there is a problem but if they are just recording general location information and the type of WiFi you are connected to and diagnostic information that is different.

    Either way the users of this should have that information disclosed to them upfront and have the option to opt out completely. That is if it is even true at all.
    bobiroc
  • Wrong! This should be opt in, not opt out

    if its true user should be asked to opt in, and only once, not repeatedly.
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Rumor: Apple capturing information on FaceTime calls

      @Johnny Vegas

      That is kind of what I meant. First time you use it there should be a disclaimer or a place where you can read all the "fine print" and then opt in/out of it. Just like when you use an App that wants to use your current location.
      bobiroc
  • RE: Rumor: Apple capturing information on FaceTime calls

    Talk about junk journalism! This article is pathetic. Please stop it with the nonsense.

    Utterly and completely ridiculous.
    davesmall
    • Journalism changed after the Clinton affair

      @davesmall<br>Many 'reputable' news agencies waited around for confirmation of what was going around unsubstantiated on the web, and missed the boat.<br><br>Now, it's publish it, and publish the 'news' that it is not so later. Rather like the reporting on the Beckhams' split and no-split stories. Two stories for the price of one. Plus some enterprising journos publish on why other journos got it wrong. Third bite at the apple.<br><br>Of course, if it was true, they were the 'first to break the news' - meaning they got wide ranging credit for it, and so can hawk that to their advertisers.<br><br>And have you noticed that many TV station news now interview their own reporters as so-called experts. All too much self-referential indulgence going on.
      Patanjali
  • thanx for info

    very useful info, thanx! but there is another nice tool i always use http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture-for-FaceTime/, it records FaceTime calls really great!)
    dede!