The coin-sized gadget, priced at $29, is “a super easy way to keep track” of one’s belongings, writes on its Apple site, which advocates strapping it on to his keys or his backpack. Connected to an application to be downloaded to your smartphone, the AirTag then makes it possible to follow in real time the geographical position of the goods to which it is attached, but also of the humans who transport it, sometimes without their knowledge.
“I knew someone was following me”
This is the discovery made by Alison Carney, in June 2022. The professional singer recounts crossing the American city of Chicago in an SUV to reach the concert hall where she is expected. She then finds in her bag an AirTag which is not hers and which she says Apple never informed her of, by sending a notification to her iPhone, as it is normally required to do when an accessory of this type is nearby.
When she comes across the gadget, everything makes sense in her head. Since the end of a tumultuous love affair, she says she has received incessant calls and many messages from her ex-boyfriend, who even comes knocking on her door in the middle of the night when he is not barging into the restaurant where she dines. “When we found this AirTag, it became clear that I was not crazy. I knew someone was following me,” she says.
“I isolated myself. I stopped going out,” she says. “I know someone has the ability to place a device on my body, my possessions, and track me for the rest of my life. And (these accessories) are getting smaller and harder to detect,” she continues angrily.
A young man killed by his girlfriend
Alison Carney’s case is not isolated in the United States. In June, a 26-year-old man was killed by his girlfriend who suspected him of cheating and tracked his location with an AirTag in the state of Indiana.
The latest case dates back to February 5 in Irving, a small town in Texas. Robert Reeves, spokesman for the local police, said the city police station alone had already handled several cases involving the famous Apple accessory, in which the victim and his follower knew each other.
The procedure to follow after filing a complaint is to seek from Apple the identity of the owner of the account attached to the AirTag found, using the serial number. Information to which Alison Carney has never had access since she has not filed a complaint, for fear of reprisals.
A complaint against Apple
For its part, Apple refers to a press release published in February 2022 condemning “with the greatest firmness any malicious use” of its product and assured that the updates promised in this declaration “Have now entered into force”.
It takes more to convince Jane Doe (pseudonym) and Lauren Hughes who filed a complaint against Apple in California. The first claims that after divorcing her ex-husband, he twice placed an AirTag in his child’s backpack. The second plaintiff found the object, colored with a marker and wrapped in a plastic bag, in a wheel arch of her car.
In the court documents, they criticize in particular the efficiency of Apple’s notification system: the alert would not be immediate and only available on devices equipped with version 14.5 or later of the iOS software, which would exclude certain devices from the brand, older.