The plaintiffs, Lauren Hughes and "Jane Doe," accused the Cupertino, California-based tech giant of negligently releasing a dangerous device, minimizing concerns about threats surrounding AirTags and misrepresenting the safety of the product by calling them "stalker-proof." They filed the complaint in the state's federal district court.
"With a price point of just $29, it has become the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers," the lawsuit stated, adding that the quarter-sized AirTags have "revolutionized the scope, breadth and ease of location-based stalking." (Related: The all-seeing "i": Apple just declared war on your privacy.)
Hughes, a resident of Texas' Travis County, alleged in the suit that an ex-boyfriend stalked her using the AirTags after their three-month-long relationship ended. She decided to move and temporarily relocate herself to a hotel after her stalker left objects at her house. But once she was settled in a hotel, Hughes received a notification that an unknown AirTag had been tracking her.
She later discovered that her stalker had attached a disguised AirTag to one of her car's tires. The device had been colored with a permanent marker and wrapped in plastic. According to the lawsuit, Apple store employees could not tell Hughes how long the device had been attached to her vehicle.
The complaint further stated that in spite of moving to a new residence, social media posts made by her ex indicate he had likewise followed her there.
The second plaintiff, meanwhile, alleged that her former spouse used an AirTag to follow her movements by placing the device in their child's backpack. After she attempted to disable the first device, another one showed up.
The Bluetooth tracking devices were first rolled out by Apple in April 2021. They were originally marketed as tools that can be used to trace the location of the owners' personal objects such as keys and luggage. But since their commercial launch, people have complained the $29 tags are "easy to misuse" and "enable stalkers to keep tabs on their victims."
In February, Apple updated the safety and privacy features for AirTags following multiple reports of stalking.
"[The] AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person's property. We condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products," Apple said in a statement at the time.
The Big Tech firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint filed by the two plaintiffs.
A January 2022 report by CBS News, however, shared the stories of two Atlanta women who found themselves victims of stalking – thanks to concealed AirTags in their vehicles.
The first woman was alerted to the presence of an AirTag in her car's gas tank after she received a notification on her iPhone that an "Unknown Accessory" had been following her. She told CBS reporter Lisa Guerrero: "I randomly got a notification to my phone saying something about how there is an AirTag that doesn't belong to me that's been with me."
The second woman admitted to being scared "to death" after discovering that she was being tracked by a stranger who had placed an AirTag somewhere in her car. Despite having her vehicle checked by trained technicians, she has not yet been able to locate the device that has been surreptitiously placed inside or attached to her car.
"You can do everything in your power to protect yourself, but the fact that someone with bad intentions can track you – and there's nothing you can do about it – is really scary and really frustrating," she told Guerrero.
Watch this video that talks about the use of AirTags to track and follow people.
This video is from the Kim Osbøl - Copenhagen Denmark channel on Brighteon.com.