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Police disagree with Apple on security as Arizonans tracked with AirTags

Since the tracking devices were launched last April, the Phoenix Police Department has seen...
Since the tracking devices were launched last April, the Phoenix Police Department has seen nine cases involving AirTags.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 10:58 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Stalking through technology. Apple recently announced plans to add more measures to AirTags to cut down on unwanted tracking.

The Bluetooth devices are designed to track objects such as keys or backpacks, but reports are increasing across the country of the devices being used to stalk people.

Apple’s website says it worked with law enforcement to update AirTag’s safety warnings, but there are concerns the efforts don’t go far enough.

Among the software updates that will happen later this year:

  • Alerting people sooner if a device is suspected to be tracking someone
  • A louder chirping sound if the device is separated from its owner
  • Instructions on how to find information on the device’s owner and disable the device.

Since the tracking devices were launched last April, the Phoenix Police Department has seen nine cases involving AirTags.

Detective Karrie Flanigan with the Mesa Police Department has worked on 5 cases involving spouses going through divorces or ex-boyfriends and girlfriends stalking each other.

Detective Flanigan doesn’t believe Apple is doing enough to prevent stalking and disagrees with several of their recommendations.

She recommends if someone receives a notice on their phone, they are being tracked; they should call the police immediately and not go home to avoid showing the stalker where they live.

Her biggest concern is Apple’s instructions on finding who owns the device and disabling it by removing the battery. Both require touching the Airtag and may damage key evidence.

“Now the stalker knows you just disable it because you took the battery out, and you put your thumbprint on it. Evidence-wise it completely screws the whole case up,” warns Det. Flanigan.

Notifications show up on Apple phones, and Android users need to download the app called “Tracker Detect.”