How Justified Is The Use Of Apple AirTag To Track Someone? [Appleveteran’s Opinion]

A gadget the size of a 10p coin, the AirTag was intended to help people find their keys. Instead, the Apple tracker became a gift to stalkers

The whole idea of Bluetooth trackers is to help people find lost items like keys, wallets, backpacks and even cars and luggage. This isn’t unique to Apple AirTags, of course. Virtually any kind of tracker could do the same. Since a bunch of companies like Samsung and Chipolo are selling Bluetooth item trackers, it’s been passed around in evil hands. There have been a number of reports of the small button-sized device being used by stalkers and thieves to track people.

Supermodel stalked with Apple AirTag tracker

Quite recently, on the 5th of April, a Texas man shot and killed a suspected truck thief using Apple AirTag. Similarly, Canadian law enforcement announced that AirTags were being found in luxury vehicles to later be stolen. Not alone these, a Sports Illustrated model, Brooks Nader, said she found one in her coat pocket after visiting a Manhattan bar.

If you’re like me, you may have been freaked out by these headlines pushed your way. But, a lot of these headlines can be overblown and heart-sinking. These incidents of AirTag misuse are rare; however, each instance is one too many, says Apple.

The other spectrum has people who use AirTag for good – like seriously good. They are attaching it to their keys, and bags, stashing it in (*their*) cars and even slipping one in their child’s school bag to track their footprints which Apple condemns doing. However, if done right and lawfully through consent from your child, the tiny little tool can be helpful and to track your child.

In What Case Am I Justified To Use The Apple AirTag To Track, Someone?

Apple AirTags a ‘perfect stalking tool’ – BBC News

You can use the tiny, battery-powered Bluetooth tracking devices to track your wife and kids. Yes, it’s wrong to track people without their permission. If you find unwanted AirTag tracking, you rush to the police and explain to them your situation. But, if you use it properly, it can really find you the location of a lost child, wife or even elderly person.

Just recently, I read this article in The New York Times by Kashmir Hill where she shares her story with us that how she used Apple AirTags, Tiles and a GPS tracker to watch her husband’s every move. At certain times she could not really find directions while at other times it was so easy for her to locate the exact location of her husband.

There are certainly plenty of legitimate uses for this technology. Having a tracker in a teen’s car, with their knowledge and consent, can provide peace of mind to a parent. Bluetooth trackers helped a family keep a moving company honest and located a stolen car.

So, yes AirTags can be used for far more good than far more evil. These things are affordable but let you track your stolen stuff across the country with far more frequency.

Dan Guido, a technology CEO in Brooklyn got his electric scooter stolen. Amusingly, he had placed Apple AirTag in the stem of his electric scooter and another in the wheel. The scooter was his primary mode of transportation. Soon he followed the signal on his iPhone and narrowed its likely location down to one block. Eventually, he recovered his stolen electric bike from a bike store, which was sitting in the open, all dreadful.

If you have your stuff stolen, you will do anything you can to find it. You can even put one of these Bluetooth item trackers on your dog or cat because they are so effective at finding things, you will probably be able to find your dog or cat, even though companies don’t want you to use it for that purpose. Surprise! they still work really well for it, so what you get is an incredibly affordable, non-subscription tool that lets you find your lost and stolen stuff.

How Apple AirTags are being used to stalk people

Yet, because of all the scary headlines like AirTag kidnapping out of a few people who are abusing these trackers and who should be held accountable, many people are using it for good and limiting the tools’ effectiveness because they know that tracking devices do far more good than far more evil.

Complete AirTag Field test. Tracking MY FRIEND and THINGS with Apple AirTags!

To further clear my views on this, I watched a few YouTube videos where people share their experiences and opinions. One such video by MK-Tech did a complete AirTag Field test. Towards the end of the video, he tried to stalk a person with an AirTag by dropping an Apple tracker in a person’s pocket! (his own friend). He wanted to see if could track, stalk and follow someone with an AirTag.

Here’s what he concluded: Apple AirTag is a pretty good device to track your stuff and apparently, you can track people as well but the other person (his friend) did not manage to get the notification – that the person that is tracked is actually tracked. …it feels like again that somewhere around every three or seven minutes you get an update. So, yes you can definitely put an AirTag on a child, for example, if you are in an amusement park or somewhere else.

Can you stalk someone with an Apple AirTag?

In What Case Am I Not Justified To Use The Apple AirTag To Track, Someone?

You can not even think to use AirTag as a way to stalk someone walking around. The Apple Bluetooth item tracker becomes scary effective at stalking someone. The Sports Illustrated model that was tracked said that the culprit planted an AirTag in her jacket to follow her walk home.

Gordon Ung, Executive Editor at PC World simulated this experience by sliding an AirTag into her daughter’s backpack and watching her movements. He found that the AirTag gave him updates on her daughter’s location by perhaps 25 feet to 50 feet which seemly updated every time he checked. He only did this to see how scary can it get to stalk someone with an AirTag, and it turns out that you can actually hunt anyone down within a few diameters.

In June, the Irish actor Hannah Rose May tweeted a warning after an AirTag was planted on her person during an after-hours event at Disneyland, California. She was in the car park at 2 am, about to drive home, when she received a notification that someone had been tracking her for two hours.

I also read in an article on The Guardian that at Swansea crown court, Christopher Paul Trotman, 41, pleaded guilty to stalking his ex-girlfriend by glueing an AirTag under her car bumper. Although she had received notifications about the device on her phone, she had no idea what they meant and initially ignored them. It was only when her daughter also began getting notifications that the tag was found.

My Views

After seeing just how scary and effective the AirTags, as well as Tile, are, you might want to abandon these Bluetooth trackers. In fact, some would probably call for the technology to be outright banned. That’s an understandable knee-jerk reaction many people would have after seeing the latest 60-second TV news broadcast or newspaper story on an AirTag “used to follow someone home!”

It is definitely not recommended to stalk someone using AirTag, be it your child, parents, or any stranger albeit with their consent. Obviously, these occurrences and news are terrifying but they do exist too. Many states have laws that prevent electronic tracking of a person without their knowledge. In this scenario, we must learn how to find, block, and disable an unknown AirTag moving with you.

After researching and pondering over for a few days I’ve come to realize that the AirTag is far more useful as a tool that works in your favour if you use it appropriately rather than making it successful for nefarious purposes.

How Can I Protect Myself From Being Tracked by an Unknown AirTag Moving with Me?

If you believe your safety is at risk or someone is stalking you, Apple advises you to contact your local law enforcement, who can work with the company (you might need to provide the AirTag or its serial number). However, some people find it difficult to do. Here are some of the ways to ward off the threats of AirTag kidnapping or AirTag stalking you.

Preliminary steps:

  • Manually search yourself
  • Find the AirTag’s serial number
  • Find the AirTag using a Bluetooth scanner
  • Play a sound to locate the AirTag
  • Use Precision Finding to find the AirTag

Stop an AirTag tracking you:

  • Opt out of the Find My network
  • Get the AirTag’s serial number and associated phone number to pursue civil action
  • Disable the AirTag by removing the battery
Apple’s AirTags could be used by stalkers. Here’s how to protect yourself.
Joe Warne
Joe Warne
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