Tech News – Apple to start warning AirTag users not to use devices to track people

Apple will warn AirTag users when they are setting up the device that it is illegal to use it to track people, as the tech firm responds to concerns that the product is used by stalkers.

AirTags can be attached to personal items such as car keys or backpacks so that people can find them when they are lost, via Apple’s Find My app. However, it has been reported that women have been tracked by the devices after they were placed, unbeknownst to them, in their coat or bag.

On Thursday Apple said AirTag users setting up the device for the first time will see a message stating that using an AirTag to track people without their consent is a crime in many regions around the world and that the device is meant to track the user’s own belongings.

Apple added that it was updating guidance on its website on what to do if you are alerted about an unwanted AirTag being located near you, including how to disable it. The company said the guidance would include links to the US-based National Network to End Domestic Violence and the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Apple had already built safety features into the product so that a user’s iPhone alerts them if an unrecognised AirTag moves with them over a period of time.

Responding to the new measures, Erica Olsen, director of the Safety Net Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said: “We are happy Apple is engaging in the conversation about victim safety and are continuing to improve safeguards.”

Apple said it is also working on further updates including a “precision finding” feature that will allow iPhone users to find the precise location of a rogue AirTag.

“We design our products to provide a great experience, but also with safety and privacy in mind. Across Apple’s hardware, software, and services teams, we’re committed to listening to feedback and innovating to make improvements that continue to guard against unwanted tracking,” said Apple.

Read Apple’s full press release here.

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