Saturday, June 10

Apple’s AirTag makes stalking disturbingly easy

The Apple AirTag is designed to help you find lost items faster

If you like to misplace things and can’t find them again, an Apple AirTag can help. According to Apple itself, the AirTag is about the size of a coin and can be attached to backpacks and keys, for example. With the associated “Where is?” app, it is then possible to see where the item with the attached AirTag is located at any time. You can buy the small tracker from 35 euros.

According to Apple, the system works with a Bluetooth signal that the AirTag emits. Devices from the “Where is?” network can recognize this signal. The respective device then sends the location of the AirTag to iCloud and the lost item becomes visible on the smartphone.

The AirTag as a monitoring tool

“Everything is designed to protect your privacy at every step,” says Apple’s website. However, critics accuse the group of inadequate data protection and security. The organization “National Network to End Domestic Violence” (NNEDV) made it clear to the magazine Fast Company that the AirTag could also be misused. So the tracker just had to be put in a person’s pocket or jacket pocket and the AirTag would be a monitoring tool. “When someone is attempting, or intends to, abandon a violent individual, this can be one of the most dangerous times for stalking and assault to escalate,” said Fast Company Erica Olsen, safety net project manager at NNEDV. In the USA there have already been several cases of misused AirTags. According to the Fox 5 TV channel, the US model Brooks Nader had an AirTag put in his jacket pocket in a bar. According to the model, it was followed for several hours.

Foreign AirTag is detected

According to Fast Company, the Find My network enables the location of nearly one billion active Apple devices. Apple is aware of the problem of abusive monitoring by the AirTag and writes on its website that its own iPhone recognizes a foreign AirTag and sends a message. A tone will also be played after a while. By “a while” Apple means three days, and according to the Washington Post, the audio is a 15-second “bright chirp”. Android owners can download the Tracker Detect app, which also detects nearby AirTags and alerts the user with network notifications. According to Fast Company, if you meet more frequently with the person who is monitoring you, they can pair the AirTag regularly so that no alarm is triggered.

Tim Adler / Editor

Image Sources: Jack Skeens /