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AirTags: Apple’s Biggest Scandal?

Although technology has its benefits, it’s no secret that it can be manipulated to inflict harm upon others and many believe that this is the case for Apple’s recent release: the AirTag. The AirTag is designed as a convenient and easy way to keep track of lost items through the location tracking system on ‘Find My’. Unfortunately for those who value their freedom and privacy, it does just that. Recently, there has been an explosion of complaints suggesting that Apple’s AirTags are in fact dangerous and that the AirTag’s location tracking feature could be used in a harmful manner.

Brooks Nader, a 26-year-old Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, was walking home alone from a night out in New York when she received a disturbing iPhone notification. The notification read that she was carrying an “unknown accessory” and that the item had been moving with her for a while. This was followed by: "The owner can see it’s location”. That’s when she knew something wasn’t right. Nader discovered that somebody had slipped an Apple AirTag into her coat pocket while she was sitting in a restaurant earlier. Unbeknownst to her, the device tracked her location for four hours before Apple’s abuse prevention system triggered the notification to her phone.

Although Apple has made post-launch efforts to tighten up how AirTags not belonging to a user can be detected, notifications have proven buggy and have often taken far too long to alert users. Moreover, Apple has seemed to treat Android integration as an afterthought, and their seeming reluctance to prioritise this as a concern is now bordering on incompetence.

AirTags can be easily manipulated and have been proven easy to abuse, and this raises the question: has Apple simply facilitated stalking through the AirTag? If you suspect you’re being tracked, it seems logical to seek help from the police as opposed to returning home. However, law enforcement responses to incidences of AirTag stalking have thus far been inconsistent, and help is not always guaranteed. While tracking technology may be useful to find a lost bag or car keys, it’s important to understand that it can help in the finding of just about anything. And that includes you...

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