tracking: Apple AirTag’s anti-stalking features need more improvement, reveals study

Apple has recently updated the AirTags with some important anti-stalking mechanisms for user safety. However, a new analysis claims that these features are not working as efficiently as expected. According to Motherboard, the results of an analysis of 150 police reports across a period of eight months indicated the inefficiency of the anti-stalking features present in Apple AirTags. Almost half of these police reports dealt with robbery or theft, while the remaining ones were about harassment or stalking of women using an Apple AirTag.
The reports also mentioned that in 50 cases, women who were being stalked informed the police as they started receiving anti-tracking notifications on their iPhones. In some cases, victims also discovered AirTags hidden in their vehicles or heard the device beeping.
Eva Galperin, the cybersecurity director at Electronic Frontier Foundation, has said that the rise in reports of AirTag stalking doesn’t mean that the devices are fueling an increase in stalking cases, rather it suggests that Apple’s safety features are working.
However, these notifications can be helpful only if they work on time. The report suggests that there are many cases where these notifications are not working properly. Apple AirTags are reportedly making stalking even easier as the devices depend on the AirTag network that notifies all Bluetooth-enabled Apple devices nearby to triangulate the location of a tracker.
Since then, the Cupertino-based tech giant has announced multiple features and changes to its AirTags that aim to reduce abuse. Electronic tracking has been abused for a long time now and AirTags are not the only devices that started it. A domestic violence community educator, Mary Beth Becker-Lauth said, “location-based stalking is as old as GPS technology itself.”
Becker-Lauth added that Apple should not be the only one to be blamed as it is the responsibility of the police as well to take stalking cases seriously. Moreover, Apple has already included anti-stalking features like notifications and beeping in AirTags, while other competitors who have been in the market for a longer period implemented similar safety mechanisms just recently. Becker-Lauth also believes that collaboration between tracker manufacturers, public safety organisations and others will be needed to find a permanent solution.

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