August 8, 2022

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Apple announced Thursday that it will be releasing a series of “advancements” to its AirTag product...

Apple announced Thursday that it will be releasing a series of “advancements” to its AirTag product in response to complaints about the devices being used to stalk people, as well as other criminal activity. 
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products. Unwanted tracking has long been a societal problem, and we took this concern seriously in the design of AirTag,” Apple wrote in its news release.
AirTags are coin-sized devices that cost about $30, and can be attached to keys, purses, wallets or other valuable items to help people find them is they are misplaced. 
Apple said in its release that AirTags will be receiving a software update that warns those who are initially linking their AirTags to their Apple iOS device that information can be handed over to authorities at any time.
Apple will also be updating its support documentation to thoroughly communicate the safety features being built into AirTags going forward, along with information about help services for those who feel their safety may be threatened.
Perhaps most notably, later this year Apple will update its “unwanted tracking alerts” system “to notify users earlier that an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory may be traveling with them.” 
The changes come after multiple cases have been reported in states across the country of people applying AirTags to cars or elsewhere to unwittingly track someone’s movements.
“If you create an item which is useful for tracking stolen items, then you have also created a perfect tool for stalking,” Eva Galperin, Director of Cyber-Security at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the BBC.
Apple also addressed problem in which the unknown tracking alert would appear when other people’s AirPod earbuds were nearby. Apple said it will be updating this feature to label the device specifically as “AirPods,” instead of an “Unknown Accessory.” 
The company added that it has been working with law enforcement in AirTag-related stalking and criminal incidents, noting “Based on our knowledge and on discussions with law enforcement, incidents of AirTag misuse are rare; however, each instance is one too many.”
The company added that in those cases, it has partnered with law enforcement and provided information that “has been used to trace an AirTag back to the perpetrator, who was then apprehended and charged.”
A number of news organizations in recent months have compiled anecdotes of people, mostly women, reporting AirTag stalking incidents, including NBC, CBS and Fox.

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