Attorneys General for two US states have warned their citizens that malefactors are misusingtrackers to stalk people.
Since AirTags were released last year, reports allege the tracking accessories have been slipped into pockets and purses of unwitting people to track their location without their consent. Using Apple’s tracker this way will be considered a felony, New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote in a consumer alert Wednesday.
Both New York’s James and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro have included tips to identify whether an AirTag has been placed on your person, as reported earlier Thursday by Tom’s Guide. AirTags are designed to beep when separated from devices they’re paired to, and iPhones and iPads should warn users when they detect an unpaired AirTag is near.
State privacy laws and protections are still catching up to AirTags and other forms of electronic tracking. While New York and Pennsylvania officials have publicly denounced misusing the trackers to monitor people without their consent, other states have not. Despite a recent incident allegedly involving tracking someone via AirTag in Akron, Ohio, the city’s police department is reportedly undecided on whether that would be considered stalking, a WKYC investigation revealed.
AirTag owners tap into Apple’s Find My network of existing iPhones and devices in the wild to navigate toward the tracker accessory they’ve set up. Apple has acknowledged that its trackers could be misused, and has tweaked the devices and Find My network to deter abuse.
To make it harder to use AirTags for nefarious purposes, Appleits accessories so they’ll warn users during setup that misusing them could be a criminal offense, as well as improve its sound alerts. Previously, the company it informed nonowners of nearby AirTags and to detect the trackers.