Reporters tracked down seven women who believed they were being stalked — one, it turns out, by her mother.
From Ryan Mac and Kashmir Hill’s “Are Apple AirTags Being Used to Track People and Steal Cars?” in Friday’s New York Times:
Researchers now believe AirTags, which are equipped with Bluetooth technology, could be revealing a more widespread problem of tech-enabled tracking. They emit a digital signal that can be detected by devices running Apple’s mobile operating system. Those devices then report where an AirTag has last been seen. Unlike similar tracking products from competitors such as Tile, Apple added features to prevent abuse, including notifications like the one Ms. Estrada received and automatic beeping. (Tile plans to release a feature to prevent the tracking of people next year, a spokeswoman for that company said.)
But AirTags present a “uniquely harmful” threat because the ubiquity of Apple’s products allows for more exact monitoring of people’s movements, said Eva Galperin, a cybersecurity director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who studies so-called stalkerware.
“Apple automatically turned every iOS device into part of the network that AirTags use to report the location of an AirTag,” Ms. Galperin said. “The network that Apple has access to is larger and more powerful than that used by the other trackers. It’s more powerful for tracking and more dangerous for stalking.”
My take: Classic network effect; its power grows exponentially with its size. In this story, the failure in Apple’s chain of abuse-prevention features are the police.