Grant Thompson, 14, of Catalina, Arizona has become one of the latest in a group to be promised payment for finding a major bug in Apple’s products. The bug in question is a major privacy concern that showed up in FaceTime, allowing Thompson to listen in on his friends through the app regardless of whether or not the recipient had accepted the call. He accidentally did so by calling his friend directly and then transferring the call into a group call.
The immediate implications of this bug were quite obvious to Thompson and his mother, and they repeatedly contacted Apple regarding the issue. It took Apple’s technicians several days to acknowledge the bug and reply to the family. The delay in response has been called negligent by many who learned of the bug before Apple’s response and the swift withdrawal of the group FaceTime update. As of today, a new version of group FaceTime is live and hopefully does not still contain some form of the bug.
Thompson is being offered an undetermined sum as compensation for finding the bug, but Apple has stated that it will help with his education. This leads to another element of how the public interacts with Apple, through the Bug Bounty system. Apple pays third parties who find bugs according to the seriousness of the bug. Some of the most serious bugs can receive up to $200,000.