Apple has been sued by two women who say the AirTag devices make it easy for stalkers to track down and terrorize victims.
The inexpensive devices, about the size of a half-dollar coin, are intended to be slipped into or attached to personal belongings, such as backpacks or keys, to help owners locate them. But privacy advocates have warned — and police reports have confirmed it — that AirTags can also be used to track people without permission.
An ex-boyfriend of one of the women who filed the lawsuit placed an AirTag in the wheel well of her car and was able to find out where she had moved to avoid his harassment, according to the proposed class action complaint filed Monday. at the federal government. court in San Francisco.
The other woman said her estranged husband tracked her movements by placing an AirTag in her child’s backpack.
In other cases, tracking AirTags has led to murder, the lawsuit said. In one case, an ex-boyfriend used the device to track down and shoot a woman 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 hit him.
Apple advertised the AirTag as “stalker resistant” when the device was released in April 2021. It included notifications to inform users of Apple devices, such as iPhones and MacBooks, if an AirTag was within Bluetooth range (about 30 feet or 9 meters). ) for a longer period of time.
After persistent complaints from privacy advocates, the company earlier this year improved security measures, shortened the time for notifications, and also notified users of Apple devices when an AirTag that was not registered on them was “Moving With You,” such as an AirTag attached to the undercarriage of a user’s car. Apple has also released an app for Android users that lets them scan for AirTags around them.
But that hasn’t allayed concerns about the devices.
“While Apple has built-in safeguards into the AirTag product, they are woefully inadequate and do little or nothing to immediately alert individuals if they are being tracked,” Monday’s indictment said.
The women accuse the company of negligently releasing an unsafe device and are asking the court to award unspecified monetary damages. They are trying to represent others “who have been and are at risk of being stalked through this dangerous product.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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