Who puts Air Tags on a painting and a French press?

A lawyer representing Portland's homeless population, that's who.

From AppleInsider's "Apple's AirTag used to monitor alleged illegal dumping of homeless' property" posted Wednesday:

A lawyer in Portland, Ore., this week said a contractor broke the law when it allegedly trashed a number of items belonging to people living at a homeless encampment. And he has the AirTag tracking history to prove it.

According to a report from the Portland Tribune on Tuesday, Michael Fuller attached AirTag devices to 16 personal items belonging to homeless residents camping in Laurelhurst Park, an area that was swept by city contractor Rapid Response Bio Clean. Members of the homeless community had in the past complained that the city was illegally dumping their belongings during such clean-up operations.

Following the sweep, Fuller in a tweet shared what appears to be a screenshot of the Find My app, showing some of the trackers ended up at what looks to be a waste transfer station. Others were spotted by Apple's Find My network at random locations...

Two tracked possessions — a painting and a French press — did not appear to be unsanitary in photos provided to the Portland Tribune and would therefore not be candidates for the trash heap. Fuller in a statement said all items were clean and useful.

My take: There are million uses in the big city for Apple's bluetooth trackers.


  1. Fred Stein said:
    Cool. I’ll share with my niece who is a lawyer for affordable housing.

    August 4, 2021
  2. Randy McCleary said:
    Okay, this does not prove a thing. Airtags are not bread-crumbs. They are point and position based on crowd sourcing. This does not prove the items were not truly given to police and thereby deemed unclaimed and abandoned. It does not even prove this sanitary contractor took them.

    Heck, even if there is video of the aforementioned French-Press and artwork being taken by the contractor, the law only protects the homeless. If the contractor thought the artwork and press were owned by someone with-a-home, the cited law doesn’t apply.

    Meaning – Portland has created a specific law where homeless have more rights than other classes of tax-paying citizens.

    However, a good question is how admissible Air Tag data is in a court ruling?


    August 4, 2021
    • Jim Fournier said:
      Your lack of compassion is breathtaking.

      August 4, 2021
  3. Steven Noyes said:
    “recognizable as belonging to a person and that has apparent use”.

    “Due to the tracking technology, we have proof positive that Rapid Response broke the law and took property that was perfectly clean and sanitary, and belonged to homeless people, and took them to the dump,”

    I have been to many of the homeless encampments and it is hard to show the above two things. I have seen pictures, bikes, lanterns and dozens of other things (mostly in not working order) strewn about with no clear “ownership”. “Property” shifts from person to person and is then discarded on the ground or outside a tent. “Clean and sanitary”? Not even close to true.

    August 4, 2021
  4. Lou Falek said:
    OT, a true air tags story: A few weeks ago we flew from Boston to Monterey via connection in Denver on United. To avoid rush hour, we arrived at Boston 2 1/2 hours early and checked in our 2 bags. We had an air tag in each bag. A few minutes before takeoff from Boston, I checked the status of the air tags. One was 45 feet away, presumably on the plane. The other was reported as 454 miles away, at Toronto Pearson International Airport! While in flight, I couldn’t query the air tags but as we approached Denver I was able to get a signal. The errant bag was reported as 35 miles away, already at DIA. As the plane approached, I could see it as 30… 25.. 20 miles away and could see the location on the map of the airport. It arrived at Denver before we did! When we arrived at our final destination, both bags were there with no indication that anything was ever amiss.

    August 4, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      It’s not just people that sometimes have curious air routes to their destinations. Your bag just had a better connection and a very short layover in YYZ. It wanted those extra reward miles to get a matching AirTag.

      I used to do Mileage runs on United Mileage Plus from Los Angeles to Dulles (LAX-IAD) to maintain Premier status, nice 10 hr turnaround on 777’s.

      August 4, 2021

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