(NewsNation) — Apple is being sued by two women alleging that its AirTag products are making it easier for stalkers to track their victims, including their own former partners.
In a lawsuit filed in the San Francisco federal court on Monday, Dec. 5, two women claimed Apple has been unable to protect people from unwanted tracking by the AirTag technology. The coin-sized device released in early 2021 was designed to be attached or slipped into backpacks, purses, luggage and keys, so users could track their belongings and retrieve lost items.
However, the technology also comes with dangerous ramifications. One of the women in the proposed class action lawsuit, Lauren Hughes, said her ex-boyfriend allegedly placed an AirTag into the wheel well of a tire on her car. The device was allegedly colored with a Sharpie marker and tied up in a plastic baggie to disguise it.
The other woman, identified only as “Jane Doe,” said her ex-husband had been harassing her and challenging her about her whereabouts. According to the lawsuit, the woman found an AirTag in her child’s backpack. Though she attempted to disable it, another one soon showed up in its place, according to the complaint.
The two women, on whose behalf the suit was filed, are seeking to represent others “who have been and who are at risk of stalking via this dangerous product.” The suit is asking the court for an unspecified monetary compensation.
From the time of its launch, experts have warned about possible malicious uses for the technology. The controversial product is associated with a number of other stalking incidents as well as car thefts. In one case, an Indianapolis woman used an AirTag to track and ultimately kill her boyfriend after she suspected he was having an affair. AirTags have also reportedly been used to track and steal cars.
After rising privacy complaints, Apple announced an update earlier this year that addressed some of these concerns. The update included new privacy warnings at the time of setup, quicker alert times on unknown accessories and refined precision finding. Despite these changes, privacy advocates still worry about public safety as the product continues to be linked to crimes.
“Definitely good and bad to having an Apple AirTag, as always I caution people to keep your head on a swivel and be alert of everything going on,” former law enforcement officer Robert Young told News 2’s sister station, NewsNation. “There could be a host of reasons this thing could be useful, but based on my background in law enforcement I can’t help but think most people buy these thinking they need to track someone.”