Apple could introduce additional AirTag anti-stalking measures

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AirTag anti-stalking methods were supplied by Apple when the tracking devices were originally released, and they have subsequently been improved upon.

We’ve made it clear that AirTags are the best way to protect yourself from stalkers and thieves, and we’ll continue to do so.

It’s also true that AirTags have raised knowledge about the availability of tiny, low-cost trackers, which has enhanced the potential for misuse.

As a result, I believe that Apple should implement further anti-stalking mechanisms, and the following are some of our suggestions:

Background

Internet commentators are believed to have a hard time comprehending the idea that two distinct things might be true at the same time.

True, AirTags are the most secure and unsuitable trackers for stalkers, thieves, and other criminals on the market today.

Non-tech folks who had no idea about GPS or Bluetooth tracking are suddenly aware of their existence — and that includes the stalkers.

The issue of stalking is a serious one

Stalking is often seen as a nuisance rather than a serious danger by others. The opposite is true. Among the findings of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

For 81% of stalked females, physical violence was combined with sexual assault, whereas for the remaining 31%, just physical violence was reported.

Women who were killed by an intimate partner were stalked in 76% of cases, whereas 85% of women who survived a murder attempt were stalked in the same way.

Fifty-four percent of femicide victims had called the police to report being stalked before their killers murdered them.

Stalking may be very detrimental even if there is no subsequent violence. Victims said that their personalities altered as a consequence, with many suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder—and as many as 25 percent of them pondered taking their own lives.

For all of these reasons, Apple should implement whatever additional AirTag anti-stalking procedures it deems necessary in order to safeguard users’ privacy. Here are a couple concepts that Guilherme Rambo and I came up with.

AirTags that spend too much time with the incorrect individual should be flagged as inappropriate.

AirTag has excellent privacy safeguards in place. If your AirTag happens to be within range of my iPhone, none of us will know about it.

There is no way I can identify you even if your AirTag is in Lost mode since you have complete discretion over what information you choose to share with me – and you can even choose to hide some of it.

It’s a different story for Apple. Because of this, it has a lot of private information at its disposal. It can tell who has registered which AirTags and whose iPhones are within range of each one based on this information.

Spotting a stalking trend based on the data shouldn’t be too difficult to set up surveillance software:

While the AirTag is often beyond of the owner’s iPhone’s range, it is also frequently inside the iPhone’s range when used with another phone.

Alternatively, Apple might opt to alert the prospective victim, just as it does with the owners of iPhones affected by NSO’s Pegasus. “Something like this”:

Apple has issued a statement on this. A non-you AirTag tracking device has been found to be within range of your iPhone on many occasions.

Keep an eye out for any odd AirTag/Apple ID pairs

Even if they plan to abuse them, most offenders will register their AirTags with their own Apple ID. Smarter people, on the other hand, will establish a new Apple ID and link the AirTags to it.

Again, Apple shouldn’t have any difficulty identifying patterns of brand-new Apple IDs that are solely used to register AirTags and are otherwise inactive. The use habits of those AirTags may then be scrutinized for any additional indications of misuse.

Deactivate the AirTag in both circumstances

Deactivate the AirTag if Apple detects trends that are consistent with stalking. A message for the owner should appear in the Find My app:

This AirTag has been deactivated. If you need help, you may go to an Apple Store or contact Apple Support.

The AirTag would then be renewed for innocent users who could explain the circumstances. If any criminal is foolish enough to attempt to reactivate the AirTag, their visit or phone call would serve as more proof of their ownership.

A fourth feature is the ability to block AirTags owned by certain individuals.
Apple’s iPhones are currently able to recognize any AirTag. It’s obvious that this is how they can be monitored.

Therefore, Apple might provide a simple safeguard by allowing iPhone users to blacklist certain contacts. AirTags pertaining to the person they had banned would not appear on their iPhone, making it less useful for surveillance.

By extending this functionality, anyone’s iPhone might be prevented from monitoring their AirTag whenever they are within range of someone who has barred their owner.

This would only work if the victim has good cause to believe they are being stalked and the stalker has used their own Apple ID to log in to their device.

However, it wouldn’t take much mainstream media coverage to convey the idea that this is a precaution you can take if you’re in a troublesome relationship or have had a horrible divorce.

When scanning an AirTag, be prepared to assist others out

You may scan an AirTag if you locate one on yourself or in your car. A message from the owner will appear if it is set to Lost mode. The Find My App and the Android scanning app might both bring up a support notice if the issue persists:

AirTag anti-stalking methods might be beneficial if they were expanded

AirTag anti-stalking methods might be improved so that fewer victims are harmed by this crime and are put at danger of violence or murder as a result of it. In addition, Apple would be able demonstrate to the public that it is taking this issue seriously.

Apple’s own safety specialists, in collaboration with domestic violence experts, could surely come up with more solutions. These are just a few we came up with in a quick talk.

What is your point of view on this? Is it necessary for Apple to implement these extra safeguards? Is there anything else you can think of? Let us know what you think by taking our poll and commenting below.

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