Survey of police records show one-third of AirTag incidents involve stalking

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,661   +1,128
Staff member
In a nutshell: When it comes to using trackers for stalking people, there has not been any data showing whether it's really a problem or just that media has been paying more attention to it. While there are no formal studies on the activity, a recent survey of law enforcement records preliminarily shows that it's more common than we think.

Motherboard recently requested incident reports from multiple police departments that specifically mentioned Apple AirTags. It received 150 documents involving the device spanning the last eight months. One-third were stalking-related. Most were from women, with only one man reporting his ex had used an AirTag to stalk him. The device was planted in the victim's car in half the incidents. Most of the other reports were robbery- and theft-related.

Although these stats seem to show a significant amount of incidents involving AirTag stalking, it is something that has not thoroughly been looked into before. There is no other data to compare it to, and nobody has looked even further back to see if other devices have been used like this before AirTags came along. Is it an issue exclusive to Apple?

When Apple initially announced AirTags, it touted its anti-stalking security features. Until then, the media devoted very little, if any, time to such coverage. Using other trackers like Tile to stalk people never made headlines, even though it has fewer security measures in this regard.

Motherboard's study raises more questions than it answers. Is it an instance of Apple calling attention to a nonexistent problem and giving bad actors the idea, or just a matter of the media paying more attention to it now that it's been brought up? Either way it seems like Apple let a cat out of a bag. More thorough studies could show whether tracker stalking is on the rise and if the problem existed before Apple brought it to public consciousness.

Permalink to story.

 

Hexic

Posts: 1,264   +1,985
TechSpot Elite
I dont know if this post is blaming apple or not

Here in Mexico we dont blame car makers for a 4X4 F150 or Chevrolet Silverado when they are used to comite a crime (drug dealers or cartels)

Unfortunately in modern day America, that isn't quite the case.

Five plaintiffs in the Sandy Hook massacre successfully sued and won (settled) with the gun manufacturer Remington. It's suing the spoon for making the McFatty obese.

Makes total sense when emotions overrule common sense and logic.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/remington-sandy-hook-elementary-school-shooting-settlement-73-million/
 

Mister_K

Posts: 2,185   +873
Survey reports that one third of forks are used for offensive purposes.
Survey reports that fire kills.
Survey reports that water is wet.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,661   +1,128
Staff member
I dont know if this post is blaming apple or not

Here in Mexico we dont blame car makers for a 4X4 F150 or Chevrolet Silverado when they are used to comite a crime (drug dealers or cartels)
No. I am not blaming Apple. In fact, I pose the question of whether Motherboard's survey of police reports is even fair considering it only requested reports mentioning Apple AirTags rather than reports mentioning any tracker device.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,661   +1,128
Staff member
My only real question here is whether Apple opened Pandora's box by hyping AirTag anti-stalking features because until then I do not recall hearing of any instances of tracking fob stalking. That's not to say it didn't exist. It may be that Apple just brought attention to it with their announcement. Or it could be they gave creeps the idea. Until it is looked into in a more thorough and fair manner, we cannot be certain.
 

envirovore

Posts: 533   +982
TechSpot Elite
I, for one, am shocked that people would use a tag that lets you see wherever it's located remotely to stalk someone.

Okay, no I'm not. How companies (and not just Apple here) didn't think this was going to happen is beyond me. Oh, right, gotta convince people they really need a thing and make those dollars.

[Insert Bill Hicks marketing statement here]
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,661   +1,128
Staff member
I, for one, am shocked that people would use a tag that lets you see wherever it's located remotely to stalk someone.

Okay, no I'm not. How companies (and not just Apple here) didn't think this was going to happen is beyond me. Oh, right, gotta convince people they really need a thing and make those dollars.

[Insert Bill Hicks marketing statement here]
RIP Bill. His third eye was squeaky clean. lol
 

defaultluser

Posts: 509   +389
Survey reports that one third of forks are used for offensive purposes.
Survey reports that fire kills.
Survey reports that water is wet.


In other news your water didn't decide to kill you today, because most states maintain it to a high standard. All we're trying to do here I shame Apple and and Google into a modicum of transparency (given how seamless it is to use these on any of their portable devices)

https://www.lifewire.com/using-airtags-with-android-5188775

There isn't enough protection for users here.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 697   +585
When you create a tracking device, that is exactly what people will use it for. What else do you think people will use this sort of device for? Whether its Tile or whatever tracker, you can think of the worst case scenario, and I am pretty sure someone is already using it that way. People should not be naive enough to think that it will be only used for tracking your personal belongings in case they are missing.
If you want to stop stalking and nefarious use for such tracker, then you have to make it stupidly big (so that people can see it) and build a pair of stereo speakers that will wail like a police alarm when it thinks it is being used for tracking moving subjects.
 

PanfiloTexas

Posts: 14   +16
We bought a few trackers for my sons backpack and a hoodie. It seems he was losing his hoodie or jacket almost monthly at his school. Same thing was happening to his classmates at school, parents were talking about it as well. We bought a hoodie from another country so it wouldn't look like anything you could find locally and sewed an apple tag in it. within 3 weeks his hoodie and 2 others kids hoodies (with trackers) went missing on a Friday. We watched the hoodies leave school and head to Mexico. We think it was a cleaning women stealing stuff. We alerted the principal and the cleaning women who was not fired (didn't want her fired because we had no concrete proof) was reassigned to another elementary school. Guess what, no more missing jackets once she left.
 

spydercanopus

Posts: 891   +153
We are on the precipice of implantable trackers for people. It is about to get very interesting. Personally, I would absolutely want my children implanted. When they turn 18, they can opt to remove it. I'm curious what other members here think.