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Apple, the tech giant known for its innovative products, is currently entangled in a class-action lawsuit concerning its AirTag tracking devices. Plaintiffs allege that these devices have been linked to multiple tragic incidents. The lawsuit contends that Apple has not taken sufficient measures to safeguard individuals from potential stalking and dangerous tracking.
Apple asserts that AirTags are engineered to deter unwanted tracking, employing phone alerts as a deterrent. According to the official website, if an unfamiliar AirTag is detected in your belongings, your iPhone promptly sends an alert stating, “AirTag Found Moving With You. The location of this AirTag can be seen by the owner.” Furthermore, if the owner of the AirTag is unable to retrieve it within a specified period, the device emits a sound to help locate it.
However, the lawsuit argues that the delay in receiving these alerts and the absence of notifications when the owner is nearby create an environment conducive to stalking. Although Apple has reduced the alert time, there have been reported cases where individuals were unaware they were being tracked until up to a day after the device was planted on them. An industry expert estimates that it takes Apple anywhere from four to eight hours to send the notification.
An additional concern raised in the lawsuit is the disparity in protection between iPhone and Android users. Android devices operate on a different system, making them ineligible for the same alerts. While Apple intends to extend this feature to Android users, this initiative only came to fruition after a collaboration with Google was established in May, over two years since the AirTags were introduced.
The lawsuit paints a grim picture, recounting instances where AirTags were employed to track victims, leading to dire consequences. One chilling incident in January 2022 involved a woman in Akron, Ohio who was stalked and ultimately shot by her ex-boyfriend using an AirTag planted in her car. Another heart-wrenching scenario unfolded in Indianapolis, where a woman concealed an AirTag in her boyfriend’s vehicle, enabling her to trail him to a bar where he met a tragic end.
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A report by the U.S. Department of Justice reveals that an estimated 7.5 million people fall victim to stalking annually in the U.S., with young adults aged 18-24 facing the highest rates. The lawsuit contends that the actual number of victims could be substantially higher, with only 40% of cases reported to law enforcement.
Apple has until October 27 to present its response to the class-action lawsuit. The suit seeks a trial by jury and a mandate enjoining Apple from engaging in further practices deemed unlawful, unfair, and/or fraudulent in relation to the design, production, and release of its AirTags.