Women have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple over “dangerous” AirTag stalking by ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands. Bloomberg reports that perpetrators hid the coin-size tracker in the victims’ vehicles or other belongings to track their movements and terrorize them.
Apple entered by electronic tracker market with the launch of AirTag in 2021. The device was designed to help users keep a track of items and easily find them when lost via Find My network support. It is also the only tracker in the market which comes with safety features like notifying iOS users when an unknown AirTag is traveling with them, or pinging a sound on the tracker when it has been away from the owner and others.
However, in spite of the safeguards, the tracker has been used in multiple incidents of harassment and stalking as domestic violence and privacy experts had suspected.
Apple AirTag is “an unsafe device” claim grieved women
The filing listed incidents of abuse involving the AirTag; a woman complained that her ex-boyfriend hid the tracker in the wheel well of her car and another said that her ex-husband hid it in her child’s backpack.
In other cases, AirTags tracking has led to murder, according to the lawsuit. In one instance, an ex-boyfriend used the device to track and shoot a women in Akron, Ohio; in another, a woman in Indianapolis, Indiana, hid an AirTag in her ex-boyfriend’s car, followed him to a bar and ran him over.
Plaintiffs complain that the tech giant has not built “adequate” safeguards to alert victims of stalking and prevent misuse of its tracker. The women are seeking unspecified monetary damages from Apple for “negligently releasing an unsafe device”.
“While Apple has built safeguards into the AirTag product, they are woefully inadequate, and do little, if anything, to promptly warn individuals if they are being tracked,” according to Monday’s suit.
Having said that, the report does not mention if any of the victims received safety alerts or heard the tracker’s ping. Police reports showed that AirTag’s safety features not only alert the victims that an unknown tracker is traveling with them but also enable them to seek police assistance.
Earlier this year, Apple introduced new anti-stalking safety features for AirTags and Find My accessories like privacy warnings during the tracker’s setup, and an “Unknown Accessory Detected” alert for AirPods. The company will also release Precision Finding to track unknown AirTag with precision, display alerts with sound, refine unwanted tracking alert logic, and tune AirTag’s sound later this year.