Apple AirTags: Easing the Route for Stalkers

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About AirTag

Apple’s AirTag is a device developed by the company to help people find personal objects. It’s a tracking device that can track down your lost devices like bags, keys, apparel Items, small electronic devices, vehicles, and so on. AirTag is launched on April 30, 2021, by Apple. The product is compatible with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device capable of running iOS/iPad 14.5 or later.

How does it Work?

The process is simple: Attach one to your backpack, another to your key. And just like that, they will be on your radar in the Find My app. People can also track down their Apple devices and keep up with friends and family with the help of AirTags. According to Apple ‘AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the Find My network’. These devices send the location of AirTag to iCloud which can be seen in the Find My app. Though they claim that the whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect the privacy of their users, it seems there is a glitch in the matrix. 

Apple AirTags attached with a Keyholder
Apple AirTags attached with a Keyholder

A tool for stalking?

While on the surface level it seems to be a very handy device for keeping track of your objects from losing, there is the acquisition of privacy issues. On 20th January 2022 BBC published a news report of a woman being stalked by an unknown device. She claimed that an ‘unknown device had been following her movements.’ She even called the police but they were unable to help her. As the BBC article reported there are more cases like this where the users accused that they have been tracked using the AirTags. This is raising concerns about users’ safety. Though Apple told the BBC that they take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag’s privacy and security, it seems there is a loophole in the system. On their launching event, Apple said that ‘AirTags are designed to track items, not people.’ It appears as if their anticipation was right. AirTags are being used in criminal activity. The company is trying to minimize the security issue by setting up a series of safeguards. Now, how much these safeguards are able to protect people from being tracked is an answer to find. 

A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.

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