- Two women are suing Apple over its AirTag device, saying former partners used the trackers to stalk them.
- In the class-action suit, filed in San Francisco, one plaintiff says an AirTag was hidden in her car.
- The suit calls AirTags “the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers.”
Two women have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple alleging that hidden AirTags were used by former partners to stalk them.
The controversial product, which resembles a large button, was designed to help people track personal belongings like luggage. But AirTags have been misused, with notable examples including one being slipped into a model’s coat pocket, and others used to follow luxury vehicles before stealing them.
In response, Apple has introduced updates since its 2021 release – when AirTags were reported by one outlet as being “stalker-proof.” Apple never officially made this claim, though it did widely tout the AirTag’s focus on privacy.
iPhone users will be notified if they’ve been near an AirTag for an extended period of time, while customers are reminded that stalking is a crime when they first connect the device.
And if you have an Android device, you need to download a separate app which requires you to press a button rather than scanning in the background automatically.
“With a price point of just $29, it has become the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers,” the lawsuit, which was first reported by Bloomberg, says.
The first plaintiff, Lauren Hughes, says she was tracked soon after ending a three-month relationship. Her ex-boyfriend made abusive social media posts, left threatening voicemails, and delivered plants to her door.
Hughes moved to a hotel to escape the harassment, before receiving an iPhone notification about a nearby AirTag. She could only get the device to beep once, before finding it hidden in the wheel well of her car. Staff at a nearby Apple Store couldn’t tell her how long it had been there.
She then found a new home, but months later her stalker shared an Instagram post in her new neighbourhood. It included a winking emoji and “#airt2.0” – which the lawsuit says shows his continued use of AirTags.
The second, anonymous plaintiff was going through a “contentious divorce” when her spouse began “harassing her, challenging her about where she went and when, particularly when she was with the couple’s child.”
She then found an AirTag in the child’s backpack and got rid of it – before it was replaced with another. She asked a friend to download the Android tracker app, but because she lives in New York City there are always lots of AirTags around.
The lawsuit includes classes for both iOS and Android users, noting that over 150 police reports were filed as of April 2022.
It says that Apple’s executives and publicists “actively sought to portray the AirTag as a harmless—indeed “stalker-proof”—product and therefore misled the public.
It adds that the device’s benefits don’t outweigh the risks, and its “design defect was a substantial factor” in causing harm.
The plaintiffs seek damages to be determined at any future trial.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider about the lawsuit.