Apple AirTag and Unwanted Tracking

AirTag Apple’s latest innovation that lets users keep track of personal items like their keys, wallet, purse, backpack, luggage, and more through the Find My app was launched April 2021.

Since AirTag’s launch last April, users have written in to share countless stories of AirTag being instrumental in reuniting them with the things they value. Thanks to AirTag and the Find My app, a customer who lost his wallet on the subway was able to track it down at a station across town.

With the help of an AirTag placed inside a medical kit, a parent whose child lost critical medicine on the bus was later able to find it.

Concerning the unwanted tracking that AirTag enables, Apple says

“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products.

Unwanted tracking has long been a societal problem, and we took this concern seriously in the design of AirTag.

It’s why the Find My network is built with privacy in mind, uses end-to-end encryption, and why we innovated with the first-ever proactive system to alert you of unwanted tracking.

We hope this starts an industry trend for others to also provide these sorts of proactive warnings in their products.

We’ve become aware that individuals can receive unwanted tracking alerts for benign reasons, such as when borrowing someone’s keys with an AirTag attached, or when traveling in a car with a family member’s AirPods left inside.
We also have seen reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes.
Apple has been working closely with various safety groups and law enforcement agencies. Through our own evaluations and these discussions, we have identified even more ways we can update AirTag safety warnings and help guard against further unwanted tracking.”

Every AirTag has a unique serial number, and paired AirTags are associated with an Apple ID.

Apple can provide the paired account details in response to a subpoena or valid request from law enforcement.

We have successfully partnered with them on cases where information we provided has been used to trace an AirTag back to the perpetrator, who was then apprehended and charged.

 

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