Lawsuit claiming AirTag is a stalker tool gets judge’s go-ahead


Car thieves can hide an AirTag somewhere on your car and track it for theft later.
Car thieves can hide an AirTag somewhere on your car and track it for theft later.
Photo: York Regional Police

A U.S. federal judge gave a go-ahead to a class action lawsuit accusing Apple’s AirTag of being “the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers.”

Apple argues that it designed the product to discourage stalkers.

Apple AirTag is preferred by stalkers, alleges lawsuit

Location trackers like Apple’s AirTag are small gadgets that use wireless tech to make them findable. Attach one to your keys or luggage, and it’ll help you locate them if they go missing. But criminals have found uses for the devices too, by secretly stashing a Tile or AirTag in an unsuspecting person’s pocket or bag.

A class action lawsuit filed in the District Court for the Northern District of California (PDF via Ars Technica) alleges:

“Immediately after the AirTag’s release, and consistently since, reports have proliferated of people finding AirTags placed in their purses, in or on their cars, and even sewn into the lining of their clothes, by stalkers in order to track their whereabouts. The consequences have been as severe as possible: multiple murders have occurred in which the murderer used an AirTag to track the victim.”

US District Judge Vince Chhabria removed many of the plaintiffs from the lawsuit, according to Bloomberg, but ruled on Friday that the suit can proceed.

The plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial, and want punitive damages from Apple.

Apple says ‘privacy is built in’

Apple says AirTag follows California law. It also built privacy protections into the device.

As the iPhone maker explains: “If someone else’s AirTag finds its way into your stuff, the network will notice it’s traveling with you and send your iPhone an alert. If you still havenʼt found it after awhile, the AirTag will start playing a sound letting you know it’s there.”

Apple is also working with Google on a system that will alert Android users if an AirTag is following them.


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