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New York Attorney General James Issues Consumer Alert Over AirTag Stalking Concerns

New York Attorney General James Issues Consumer Alert Over AirTag Stalking Concerns

Despite Apple’s announcing changes to its AirTag trackers that will likely help cut down on unwanted tracking and stalking incidents, New York Attorney General Letitia James (who is up for reelection) today sent out a consumer alert with “safety recommendations” to “protect” New Yorkers from ‌AirTags‌ (via The Mac Observer).

Across the country, Apple AirTags are being misused to track people and their belongings to cause harm. Tracking people without their awareness or consent is a serious felony and will not be tolerated by my office. I urge all New Yorkers to pay close attention to their belongings and follow the tips provided by my office to stay safe. New Yorkers’ safety is my top priority and my office will continue to do everything in its power to protect New Yorkers.

The alert from James actually echoes many of Apple’s own recommendations, which includes suggestions that people keep their iPhones updated, listen for unfamiliar beeping, stay alert for “Item Detected Near You” notifications on their iPhones, and for Android users to use Apple’s Tracker Detect app to manually scan for AirTags.

The alert does include a warning that not all unfamiliar AirTags are in place with malicious intentions, as they are used to track items when they go missing.

The Office of the Attorney General urges New Yorkers who find an unidentified AirTag with their belongings to immediately file a complaint with the OAG Internet and Technology Bureau.

While other companies also make GPS and Bluetooth-based tracking devices, Apple’s AirTag tracker have been the focus of recent attention due to its built-in warning system. While victims who are being tracked by other tracking tags might remain unaware they are being tracked, AirTags provide alerts.

AirTags availability and ease of set up and use, along with the Fin My network that allows easy tracking of the tag and its related item (or person) almost anywhere in the world.

Apple has also updated its Unwanted Tracking support article to provide more information on the safety features built into AirTag, AirPods, and ‌Find My‌ network accessories. Apple has not announced a specific timeline for when these new features might be released, but the company has them in the works for later in 2022.

In recent months, there have been numerous reports of folks discovering that they are being stalked by someone using an Apple AirTag. Currently, iPhone users will receive a notification if an AirTag that does not belong to them is tracking their location, allowing them to disable the device’s tracking feature. As for Android users, they can use Apple’s Android Tracker Detect app, to detect if they’re being tracked. In both cases, users can force an AirTag to emit a sound if it’s detected near a user.

(Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash)