Two women sued Apple Inc., claiming that its AirTag devices made it easier for stalkers to track victims and terrorize them.
These small devices, which are about half the size of a coin, can be attached to keys or backpacks to aid owners in finding them. Privacy advocates and police reports confirm that AirTags could be used to track individuals without their consent.
According to the class-action complaint filed Monday in San Francisco federal court, an ex-boyfriend of one the women who filed suit placed an AirTag in her car’s wheel well and was able find out where she had been to avoid harassment.
Another woman claimed her husband used an AirTag to track her movements and placed it in her child’s backpack.
According to the lawsuit, AirTags tracking may have led to other murders. One case involved an ex-boyfriend who used the device to track and kill a woman in Akron Ohio. In another instance, a woman from Indianapolis, Indiana hid an AirTag inside her car and followed him to a bar before running him over.
Apple proclaimed the AirTag to be “stalker-proof” when it launched the device in April 2021. The AirTag included chimed notifications that alerted users of Apple devices such as iPhones or MacBooks if an AirTag was within Bluetooth range (about 30-feet or 9 meters) for a prolonged period.
Apple updated its privacy safeguards in response to continued complaints from privacy advocates earlier this year. This included reducing the time it takes to notify users and notifying them when an AirTag they didn’t have registered was “Moving With You.” An AirTag attached to the undercarriage or car of a user is one example. Apple has also released an app that allows users to scan for AirTags in the area.
However, this hasn’t dispelled concerns about the devices.
According to Monday’s suit, “While Apple has built safeguards to the AirTag product but they are woefully insufficient and do little to prompt warn individuals if their tracking is being tracked”
They accuse the company for negligently releasing an unsafe device, and ask the court to award them unspecified monetary damages. They are seeking to represent other “who were and could be stalked by this dangerous product.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Hughes v. Apple, Inc., 3;22-cv-7668, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, (San Francisco).