HomeNewsAirTags stalking complaints are on the rise, almost all from women! How...

AirTags stalking complaints are on the rise, almost all from women! How to protect yourself from getting tracked?

There have been increasing complaints of Apple’s Airtags stalking of late. Analysis of 150 Police records in the United States over a period of approximately eight months on stalking cases data gives an insight into the Airtag’s inefficiency and glitch. Apple’s AirTag stalking safety measures are effective only one-third of the time, making it almost worse than anyone else.

Apple’s Airtags stalking issue gets more complicated with 50 women out of 150 cases reported receiving a warning on their configured iDevices “someone’s AirTag is following you”. Many of the complaints half suspected that the tracker had been hidden inside their cars by strangers. In fact, almost half of the stalking complaints with the police specifically mentioned an AirTags stalking.

Motherboard report highlights the Airtags Stalking issue on the basis of data it has gathered and analysed. It makes clear the extent of this problem.

Motherboard requested records mentioning AirTags in a recent eight month period from dozens of the country’s largest police departments. We obtained records from eight police departments.

Of the 150 total police reports mentioning AirTags, in 50 cases women called the police because they started getting notifications that their whereabouts were being tracked by an AirTag they didn’t own.

Most cases involved angry exes; one woman called to report that her ex had slashed her tires and left an AirTag in the car to watch her. A woman in another police report said she’d found AirTags attached to her car multiple times, and knew it was her ex, who has a past of assault. She said she knew it was him because he was showing up to her locations at the same time as her.

In another police report, a woman said she started noticing something beeping inside her vehicle every time she left her house; she found an AirTag in her car and confronted an ex who admitted to putting it there to see if she was “cheating.” 

What is Airtags stalking issue?

The use of Airtags for stalking purposes became pretty evident since its launch a year ago. There have been increasing complaints about the nature of the tracking device. It has been used to abuse partners, control the movements of people without their knowledge or even carry out robberies. Although iPhone can detect an unknown AirTag but after a certain lapse of time.

Airtags have not used an out of the box idea and technology behind it that has pushed focus to tracking issues. It has used GPS and Bluetooth trackers used by other manufacturers for years. Since Airtags carry the tag of Apple, known for its extra security measures, the news of stalking has gathered mainstream media attention.

Apple has added many “privacy protection” features to AirTags. But anything that can make life harder for those who want to use AirTags for stalking is going to make life easier for thieves. Now AirTags has become almost useless for tracking stolen items. In fact, Apple no longer advertises the AirTags as a tool for tracking stolen items.

Apple has never explicitly expressed its intention to make Airtags stalking feature more secure from the prying eyes. However, it has rolled out updates to make the anti-stalking functions more secure. Apple also released an Airtag for Android app last December to allow detection of an unknown AirTag even for those who don’t use an iPhone. In iOS 15.4 update, a new warning cum disclaimer was flashed that emphasized about the tracker being designed exclusively to keep track of the position of the objects of the user, and not for other purposes.

It has been rumored that Apple will release a series of updates later this year. It will improvise on functions such as “precise location”, “display an alert with sound”, “redefining unwanted tracking alert logic” and “changing the sound”.

It is unacceptable that anyone is forced to feel unsafe and potentially harmed. If a product does this much damage – both physical and emotional – something has to change. Additionally, I care more about protecting people from stalking and physical abuse than I do about protecting stolen property and I think Apple should too.

The internet is of the opinion that Apple should cease selling AirTags. But, that wouldn’t solve much unless Tile and others follow suit because they are not better when it comes to anti-stalking measures. Pulling AirTags off the market wouldn’t mean unwanted tracking would go away — we’d simply just stop hearing about it. There needs to be more conversation and serious steps towards making it less vulnerable and more secure. Continue sharing with us your views on what anti-stalking steps should Apple take to make its users feel safe.

Rashmi
Crazy about technology, sports, cinema, my colleagues, and useless anecdotes. Far too connected and curious. When I'm not on my smartphone, you can find me tinkering anything tech!

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