Two women sue Apple after their exes allegedly use AirTags to stalk them

Originally published at: Two women sue Apple after their exes allegedly use AirTags to stalk them | Boing Boing


AirTags are just more readily available and consumer friendly versions of products that have been on the market for decades. The manufacturers of those other similar items haven’t been held culpable by courts for illegal uses of their tracking devices, so I find it doubtful it will change just because of the Apple brand.


“Stalk Different”


Maybe it’s not the device but the tracking network.

The fact that Apple and Samsung or other devices allow their networks to be used to track people is the issue.

Apps ask our permission to do things and we can opt in or out or not use the app but using all of our devices to set up a tracking network is a problem.

I think.


I think the weakness with Apple Tags is that there are reasons that make sense not to always broadcast that an Apple Tag is near you, but by the same measure Apple is working hard to cut down exactly on using an Apple Tag to stalk someone. Unfortunately, the walled garden means it will only notify you of a possible stalker if you yourself own an iPhone or something similar, so that Apple can go “hey, wait a minute, this Apple Tag that I can see is moving with you in a suspicious manner!”

In the end the only real solution is to close loopholes and increase penalties for planting trackers on people without their consent, and make it a criminal act to do this to people you are not supposed to have contact with. Because on the one hand, these little trackers have lots of legitimate uses such as keeping an eye on your luggage or your stuff when you move, but on the other they have really become a stalker’s dream as this lawsuit shows.


Just for completeness, I will point out that an Apple-made Android scanner exists.


Tom Delonge Wtf GIF

Not fucking funny. People get killed by stalkers (primarily women). So… you know… can we NOT make light of that?


Firstly, I am glad that this suit will bring to light the myriad ways that assholes can do this shit. Far too many Women I know personally, OR IN MY FAMILY, or that I have dated (or have married!) have been previously subject to this sort of harassment and misogyny. No one should be subjected to the sort of terror and often hopelessness and powerlessness that comes with these despicable men who do this crap, and for too long, no one has taken it seriously.

The thing is, Apple has done more to try and combat this exact use case than anyone before them, Including actively working with groups specifically to fix their product; no one else is, and that’s the way it had always been before Apple. When these associations point out how rare it is for anyone to even bother to contact them or take their feedback seriously, you know there’s an endemic problem underneath.

I hope that this suit helps victims of the many prior or copycat (and poorly-implemented) existing trackers (I’m looking at you, Samsung and tile) pressures them to finally start taking safety seriously, too.




Yes, that is my point! Apple, for all of its faults, does have privacy at the center of its concerns. Look at how they sweated over health data storage, and ensuring sensitive information could not be leaked, while on the other side are device owners whose device was hosed, but they got to get the data. So they do their best to let the device owners decide.

Apple tries to be the good guy here, letting us put a tag in the suitcase so that when the airline misplaces it, we can say which airport it landed in. Or when shipping something sensitive, as a way of tracking it independent of the carrier service (BoingBoing has posted stories about lying moving companies, but I am too arsed to look for the links). BUT: we also want to know if someone slipped one on to our car, or into the kid’s backpack. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rando, or family, we want Apple to say: “hey, there’s a tag following you around, just so you know!”


And the tag will audibly beep when it’s used to monitor something not typically carried with you.

We Airtagged our dog and it drove my partner crazy when I left town for a few days. Apple makes it hard to use these for surreptitious tracking.


The problem is that this will identify an unknown Apple tag you found but not notify you that there is a tag nearby.

I’m really looking forward to when they implement some sort of family recognition. It hasn’t been annoying like your situation, but occasionally Mrs Peas and I swap car keys and I get alerted that an unknown tag is following me. I like that only the primary user can manage it, which seems like a critical safety feature, but it would be nice if it knew I was within the same family ecosystem. It’s a very minor gripe, though.


Agreed. Being able to include in Family Sharing is my number 1 feature request for AirTags. Most of the time we both care where some missing things might be, like the dog or our luggage when traveling together.


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