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Two women who allege they were stalked and harassed using AirTags are suing Apple

AirTag enables iPhone users to securely locate and keep track of their valuables using the Find My app.<a href="https://www.apple.com/newsroom/images/product/accessories/standard/Apple_airtag-front-and-back-emoji-2up_042021.zip" data-analytics-title="Download image"></a>
Apple
AirTag enables iPhone users to securely locate and keep track of their valuables using the Find My app.

Two women are suing Apple over its AirTags, claiming the trackers made it easier for them to be stalked and harassed.

The women filed a class-action lawsuit Monday in the U.S. Northern District Court of California and said Apple has not done enough to protect the product from being used illicitly.

Apple introduced AirTags in 2021. They retail for $29 and work by connecting to iPhones and iPads via Bluetooth. They have been billed as a close-range alternative to the company's built-in Find My technology, which provides an approximate location.

"What separates the AirTag from any competitor product is its unparalleled accuracy, ease of use (it fits seamlessly into Apple's existing suite of products), and affordability," the lawsuit says. "With a price point of just $29, it has become the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers."

One plaintiff alleges after divorcing her ex-husband, he left an AirTag in her child's backpack. She attempted to disable it, but found another one soon after, she said in the lawsuit.

The other plaintiff, identified as Lauren Hughes, said after ending a three-month relationship with a man, he began calling her from blocked numbers, created fake profiles to follow her social media accounts and left threatening voicemails.

Hughes says she was living in a hotel while planning to move from her apartment for her safety. When she arrived at her hotel, she received an alert that an AirTag was near her. She later located it in the wheel well of one of her back tires. Once Hughes moved to her new neighborhood, the man posted a picture of a taco truck in her vicinity with "#airt2.0," the complaint says.

Apple does send users an alert if an unfamiliar AirTag is located near them. But the notification is not immediate and is only available on devices with iOS software version 14.5 or later, which excludes some older Apple devices. The consequences could be fatal, the complaint alleges.

Soon after the AirTag launched, domestic abuse advocates and technology specialists warned Apple the product could easily be compromised, according to the complaint.

"AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person's property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products," Apple said in February.

The women are seeking a trial with a jury and no monetary damages.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie