By Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business
Apple has been sued by two women who allege their previous romantic partners used the company’s AirTag devices to track their whereabouts, potentially putting their safety at risk.
The proposed class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco on Monday on behalf of one woman from Texas and another in New York. They are seeking unspecified monetary damages.
One of the women said her ex-boyfriend allegedly placed an AirTag — a small tracking device, slightly larger than a quarter and intended to help locate lost items — into the wheel well of a tire on her car. The device was allegedly colored with a sharpie marker and tied up in a plastic baggie to disguise it.
The other woman, named in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, said her ex-husband, who had been harassing her and challenging her about her whereabouts, placed an AirTag in her child’s backpack, the lawsuit said. Though she attempted to disable it, another one soon showed up in its place, according to the complaint.
“Ms. Doe continues to fear for her safety—at minimum, her stalker has evidenced a commitment to continuing to use AirTags to track, harass, and threaten her, and continues to use AirTags to find Plaintiff’s location,” the lawsuit said. “[She] seeks to bring this action anonymously due to the real risk that being identified would expose her to increased risk of harassment and/or physical harm.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
In 2021, Apple launched the AirTag, a $29 Tile-like Bluetooth locator that attaches to and helps users find items such as keys, wallets, laptops or even a car by giving nearly anything a digital footprint, enabling it to be found on a map. But soon after its launch, some experts warned that the devices could be used to track individuals without their consent.
This isn’t the first time AirTags have allegedly been used for unwanted tracking. In June, a woman from Indiana allegedly used one to track and ultimately murder her boyfriend over an alleged affair, according to reports. They’ve also allegedly been used to steal cars.
Earlier this year, Apple added more safeguards to the AirTag to cut down on unwanted tracking. In a blog post, Apple said it has worked with safety groups and law enforcement agencies to identify more ways to update its AirTag safety warnings, including alerting people sooner and louder if the small Bluetooth tracker is suspected to be tracking someone.
“We’ve become aware that individuals can receive unwanted tracking alerts for benign reasons, such as when borrowing someone’s keys with an AirTag attached, or when traveling in a car with a family member’s AirPods left inside,” the company said in a statement at the time. “We also have seen reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes.”
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products,” the company said.
But the new lawsuit alleges those safeguards have done little to protect victims. “While Apple has built safeguards into the AirTag product, they are woefully inadequate, and do little, if anything, to promptly warn individuals if they are being tracked,” it said.
It added that the women wanted to file the lawsuit on behalf of those “who have been and who are at risk of stalking via this dangerous product.”
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