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Apple’s AirTag tracker faces class-action suit alleging it poses a “dangerous” risk

The number of AirTag stalking cases is on the rise

The number of AirTag stalking cases has risen sharply and the plaintiffs say that Apple has not done enough to stop AirTag trackers from stalking people. The complaint reveals that “Consequences have been as severe as possible: multiple murders have occurred in which the murderer used an AirTag to track the victim.” The plaintiffs are upset over what they say is an “explosion of reporting” about new stalking cases with 19 taking place in one metropolitan area alone. That would be Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As an example of the seriousness of this situation, one woman from Indiana, LaPrecia Sanders, is a plaintiff in the class-action suit. Her son was killed by his ex-girlfriend who allegedly used an AirTag to track his movements and “followed him to a bar and ran him over with her car, killing him at the scene.”

The complaint isn’t all about violence. AirTag stalking can also inflict financial distress on victims who have to pay mechanics to search their cars for hidden AirTag trackers. Some victims have had to relocate in an attempt to hide from an AirTag stalker. And since stalking has traditionally gone underreported, the situation could be a lot worse than anyone knows.

AirTag units have been hidden in the linings of purses, and have even been stitched inside a child’s stuffed teddy bear. Some of the stalkers are known to the target such as an ex-partner or spouse. Other victims are picked at random to be stalked by someone unknown to the victim. Corbin Streett, a technology specialist for the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said that Apple seemed to focus on the latter scenario and not the former when considering the risks of its AirTag tracker.

The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, & Resource Center reports that the “vast majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know” and “intimate partner stalkers are the most likely stalkers to approach, threaten, and harm their victims.” Those are the situations that Apple allegedly did not fully consider according to Streett.

Apple will submit a motion to dismiss the suit on October 27th

The complaint says that an AirTag will “allow stalkers to follow their victims’ movements in real-time and to undo any attempt on the part of the victim to evade or hide from the stalker.” It also says, “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. With a price point of just $29, it has become the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers.”

The stalking victims suing Apple say that Apple knew that the AirTag tracker could be used by stalkers but went ahead and advertised them as being “stalker-proof.” But when Apple’s claim turned out to be false, the company had to “address its failures in protecting people from unwanted, dangerous tracking,” according to the complaint.

The victims say that Apple has broken federal and state laws and claim that Apple negligently released a defective product. Through this product, the plaintiffs accuse Apple of being unjustly enriched while invading the privacy of every victim who, unbeknownst to them, was being tracked on an Apple device.

The plaintiffs want the court to award damages to those in the U.S. who own an iOS or Android device. This would include users who were stalked as well as those who were at risk of being stalked. They want the court to issue an order “enjoining Apple from further unlawful, unfair, and/or fraudulent practices with respect to the design, manufacture, and release into the market of its AirTags.”

A motion filed by Apple to have the class action suit dismissed is supposed to be submitted by October 27th. By the same date, Apple is supposed to file with the court a response to the plaintiff’s amended complaint.

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