Apple Airtag- A Cyberstalker’s Dream

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The AirTag is a tiny location tracking disc developed by Apple that is designed to help people find personal objects using Apple’s crowdsourced Find My network. It was very well praised after its launch in 2021 but has recently turned into a cyberstalker’s best friend.

Cyberstalking is the repeated use of electronic communications with the intent to intimidate and frighten a victim, and while most people view these small chips as simple devices to help them with lost keys or luggage, they can hold a much more sinister role- There have been two murders just this year, in which a person’s ex-partner tracked them using an AirTag.

These cases are obviously extreme, but cyberstalking is a very serious problem. Experts worry that AI will easily allow stalkers “to track and monitor their victims with greater ease and precision than ever before,” according to New York City-based victims’ rights law firm C.A. Goldberg.

The law firm says the integration of AI-powered algorithms in tracking devices could also provide a stalker the ability to analyze and predict a person’s movements, locations, and even daily routines.

“Tech abuse in any form is isolating and terrifying. But the pain and disruption experienced by victims can be overlooked or underplayed,” C.A. Goldberg states.

According to Cybernews, Apple has added several safety and privacy features designed to help a person become aware if they are being tracked by an AirTag, including end-to-end encryption and randomized Bluetooth identifiers. Apple even collaborated with Android to make Apple’s “Find My” network app accessible to third-party users.

Another significant anti-stalking measure will alert users if an unknown AirTag is found moving with them for an extended period, which is meant to prevent unauthorized tracking, and if detected, the hidden AirTag will even play a sound to draw attention to it.

Unfortunately, even if you use all these safety precautions and find a tracking device hidden in your belongings, your privacy has already been violated. Furthermore, unless you already know who placed the tag on you, you can’t do much about it, which still leaves victims powerless.