Apple admits unwanted tracking — Analysis

Big Tech announced a change in policy for malicious misuse of AirTags

Apple has come to admit that at least one of its products, the AirTag tracking device, is being misused for “For criminal or malicious purposes.” The company said it will change its policies in an effort to curb criminality and violations of privacy.

Announced on Friday, the upcoming software update will be more explicit in its warnings to users regarding the consequences of operating the tracker without people’s permission or without their knowledge. 

While AirTags have been linked to suspected crime such as stalking or car theft, the company said it would now warn every user setting up the device that applying it “In many parts of the globe, it is illegal to monitor people without their consent..”

The personal Apple ID data of suspected offenders could be shared with police “In response to a subpoena, valid request by law enforcement,” the company warned, adding that it has already been “Collaboration with law enforcement and safety agencies,” helping to apprehend and charge perpetrators. 

Apple lets users scan vicinity to find sneaky AirTags

Other features that will help prevent unwanted tracking are planned for later in the year. This includes improved alerts regarding unknown AirTags. 

Last year, the tracker was released. It is meant to attach to luggage or keys to aid owners in finding lost items. While Apple says it has been designed “With privacy in mind” and uses advanced encryption, the product has been misused as a cheap means of stalking or spying on someone, when slipped into personal belongings.

Modified versions of the tag that don’t beep to reveal themselves have recently appeared on sale on sites like Etsy.

Apple stressed the AirTags were designed “to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property” and said it condemned “any malicious use” of the product.

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