Apple faces lawsuit over AirTag-linked crimes

Lawsuit claims Apple AirTags are being used in crimes, including murders. Concern is being raised about tracking and safety issues.

| Updated on: Oct 16 2023, 16:06 IST
Lawsuit accuses Apple AirTag of being linked to crimes, including multiple murders. (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)
Lawsuit accuses Apple AirTag of being linked to crimes, including multiple murders. (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit over its AirTag tracking devices. It is accused of being linked to crimes, including murder. People claim that these small trackers are being misused by stalkers and criminals to follow their victims secretly. The lawsuit argues that Apple hasn't done enough to protect people from such dangerous tracking.

Concerns Over Delayed Alerts

Apple's defense is that AirTags are designed to prevent unwanted tracking. If someone slips an AirTag into your belongings, your iPhone is supposed to alert you with a message saying, "AirTag Found Moving With You," and the owner can see its location. If you can't find the AirTag, it makes a sound to help you locate it.

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The lawsuit, however, points out that the alert isn't immediate, and AirTags won't notify you if the owner is nearby, making it easy for stalkers to track someone's movements. While Apple has reduced the alert time, the lawsuit claims some people only discover they were being tracked hours or even a day later.

Another problem highlighted in the lawsuit is that Android users don't have the same protections as iPhone users. Android devices don't receive these tracking alerts due to their different operating systems. Apple plans to provide this feature for Android, but it will take time.

Tragic Consequences

The lawsuit alleges serious consequences, stating that "multiple murders have occurred in which the murderer used an AirTag to track the victim." It also mentions cases where individuals used AirTags to follow and harm others in confrontations over stolen property.

One example in the lawsuit occurred in Akron, Ohio, in January 2022, where an ex-boyfriend stalked and shot his former girlfriend by hiding an AirTag in her car. In another incident in Indianapolis, a woman used an AirTag to track her boyfriend to a bar where he was killed in an altercation.

Stalking is a widespread issue in the United States, with millions of people affected every year, especially young adults aged 18-24. The lawsuit emphasizes that many cases go unreported to the police.

Apple must respond to the lawsuit by October 27. The plaintiffs seek a trial by jury and request that Apple change its practices regarding the design, manufacture, and release of AirTags to prevent their misuse.

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First Published Date: 16 Oct, 16:06 IST