50 of the 150 police occurrences concerning Apple’s AirTags included women who phoned the police because they were concerned about being tracked.
In an eight-month period in the United States, the research analysed the data of eight police agencies and came to some disturbing conclusions:
50 of the 150 incidents where AirTags were mentioned in police reports included women who received notices that their location was being tracked by an AirTag that they didn’t possess. Some 25 people were able to point to an ex-partner, husband, or boss who they strongly suspected of planting the AirTags on their vehicles in order to stalk and harass them. AirTags are being used to track and harass these women by their current and previous intimate partners, the ones most likely to hurt women as a whole.
It was noted in the study that “most incidents” featured “mad ex-boyfriends,” such as the one who slashed a woman’s tyres and then put an Airtag in her car to track her down. It was a common occurrence for an ex with a history of abuse to turn up at the same areas as the other woman. Then there was the woman who discovered an AirTag in her car and confronted her ex, who confessed planting it there to see whether she had been “cheating.”
More than one woman feared physical harm, according to the study.
Phone calls from a man she had a protection order against were causing a lady to contact the police. It chimed in her car and she’d received warnings indicating an AirTag was monitoring her, but she couldn’t find it. In front of a police officer, he outlined how he would physically assault her when she answered one of his calls. Another person who discovered an AirTag in her vehicle had been perplexed as to how the man against whom she had an order of protection seemed to know where she was at all times. In the complaint, the woman stated that she feared he might assault or murder her.
“Became violently angry when they were confronted about the AirTags,” the study continues, noting that some of the events included women who were still in relationships with males who were following them. There was one situation in which a guy accused his ex-girlfriend was stalking him, according to the study.
An AirTag was utilised to locate a stolen item in “less than half” of the 150 total complaints, according to the study. There have also been reports of users receiving AirTag messages and then being unable to locate their gadget.
It was “absolutely absurd” to introduce AirTags “without having taken into consideration its application in a domestic abuse situation,” a cybersecurity expert told the media site. Reports of stalking suggest that Apple’s security measures are finally working, according to the authors:
This was always going to be a big issue for us, and we knew it from the get-go. Stalking is a significant issue, which I believe contributes to some of this. It’s also important to note that having an AirTag alert go off is something that a person can submit to the police as solid proof, which sometimes they otherwise do not.”
An update on AirTag and unwanted tracking was sent by Apple in February.
Tracking notifications may be sent when people borrow someone’s keys with an AirTag attached, or ride in a car with a member of the family’s AirPods still inside. Additionally, we’ve received stories of unscrupulous actors seeking to abuse AirTag for malevolent or illegal reasons. In recent months, Apple has been collaborating with a number of safety and law enforcement organisations. As a result of these comments and our own analyses, we’ve discovered even more methods to improve AirTag safety alerts and prevent unintended tracking in the future.
Alerts have been changed by Apple to make AirTags that don’t belong to you more easily found in the event that you do receive one.