Apple Is In Big Trouble

Grind for February 1st, 2019
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”

– William Shakespeare


The Headline

Apple makes a big mistake with new feature “Group FaceTime”

The Grind

Tech companies just can’t catch a break.

This week, Apple was forced to turn off its new feature “Group FaceTime” after discovering a big security flaw.

The glitch, which was discovered on International Data Privacy Day, allowed any caller to listen in on the recipient while the device was still ringing – even if that person never accepted the call.

In some cases, callers were able to access unauthorized video feed from the recipient’s phone. The bug has been active for as long as three months.

The Details

“Group FaceTime” was released last October following a delay to its planned introduction. A lockscreen glitch was discovered days after its release.

As the name implies, “Group FaceTime” allows multiple people to participate in a video call using their Apple device.

Apple is planning an update to the software soon. In the meantime, Apple users are encouraged to disable FaceTime in the iOS settings.

“The FaceTime bug is an egregious breach of privacy that puts New Yorkers at risk,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “In light of this bug, I advise New Yorkers to disable their FaceTime app until a fix is made available, and I urge Apple to release the fix without delay.”

You Reap What You Sow

The Headline

PG&E seeks chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

The Grind

California electric company PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday as it prepares to face billions of dollars in liabilities for its role in sparking wildfires.

Investigators have determined that PG&E’s unsafe power lines caused 18 wildfires in 2017 and are still investigating whether the company’s equipment played a role in the 2018 Camp Fire (which killed 86 people).

According to California law, PG&E is liable for damages from wildfires started by its equipment even if the company wasn’t negligent.

The Details

PG&E, which provides natural gas and electric services to 16 million people, faces over 700 complaints on behalf of fire victims. Based on the complaints, PG&E estimates that it could face liabilities exceeding $30 billion.

When it filed for bankruptcy, the company estimated its total debt as $52 billion and its assets at about $71 billion.

“Throughout this [restructuring] process, we are fully committed to enhancing our wildfire safety efforts, as well as helping restoration and rebuilding efforts across the communities impacted by the devastating Northern California wildfires,” said John Simon, who is serving as interim CEO following the departure of former CEO Geisha Williams.

“We also intend to work together with our customers, employees, and other stakeholders to create a more sustainable foundation for the delivery of safe, reliable, and affordable service in the years ahead.”

On the consumer side, PG&E’s bankruptcy filing will make it difficult for fire victims to recoup losses through litigation claims and could lead to double-digit increases in electricity costs.

The bankruptcy filing also threatens PG&E’s agreements to purchase wind and solar power, which could endanger California’s ability to meet its emissions goals.

“It could have a real ripple effect throughout the power industry, not just with respect to the existing contracts that are there,” explains Luckey McDowell of Baker Botts’ restructuring group. “It could have a chilling effect in respect to new investment.”

Did you know… Leonardo Da Vinci loved animals so much that he used to buy caged animals at the market just to set them free.