Apple equips its AirTag with new anti-harassment functions

Apple’s connected trackers now have a proactive system capable of detecting harassment situations.

Practical when it comes to finding your car keys or your first aid kit, Apple’s AirTags have also made stalkers happy since their launch. Small, discreet, and able to give the precise GPS location of its wearer, the American brand’s connected tracker has been featured in a number of more or less worrying news items that have occurred in recent months. The latest, sports influencer Brooke Nader, who found herself tracked for several hours by an unknown AirTag, before finally being alerted by her iPhone.

Apple AirTag test, so you don’t lose anything

It must be said that if Apple thought it had planned everything concerning the safety of its users, some did not hesitate to circumvent the brand’s prohibitions, by modifying the device so that it could no longer ring – and therefore alert a possible victim — in the event of a prolonged absence from its original owner. Aware of the problem, the company has therefore decided to strengthen its security arsenal, explaining through a press release: “The AirTag was designed to help people know where their belongings are, not to track other people or property. We strongly condemn any malicious use of our products.”

A proactive alert system

In addition to integrating into its Locate the end-to-end encryptionApple now intends to make privacy protection its priority, being particularly vigilant on its connected devices. “We are aware that users may receive tracking alerts for benign reasons, for example when they borrow keys equipped with an AirTag, or when a loved one has forgotten their AirPods in their car”, indicates the mark. A necessary evil for prevent the hijacking of its devices for malicious purposes.

To strengthen its security against tracking, Apple explained that it worked in collaboration with law enforcement: “Cases of misuse of the AirTag are rare. That said, each case is one too many”. Now, in the event of a valid subpoena or request from law enforcement, the company will no longer hesitate to provide authorities with the AirTag’s unique serial number as well as the Apple ID on which the device was couple.

On the user side, new information will now be displayed during AirTag configuration: it will be clearly explained that the device is only intended to locate a user’s property, and that its use for tracking purposes without their consent is a crime in many countries.

Finally, for the victims, Apple will take advantage of an upcoming update to strengthen the Locate function. The iPhone 11, 12 and 13 will now more accurately indicate the distance and direction of an unknown AirTag, so that it can be found and deactivated as soon as possible.

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