There has been a disturbing new criminal trend involving tracking people and possessions with Apple AirTags without consent.
Apple AirTags are small, silver disc-shaped devices with Apple’s signature logo affixed to them and a white rim. An Airtag measures 1.26 inches in diameter, and it has a height of 0.31 inches. An AirTag can be synced to the owner’s phone to report its location. The device does not rely on GPS and instead utilizes Bluetooth technology to send signals through other Apple devices nearby. The mechanics of the device make the devices difficult to track or stop by third parties.
With this technology, the owners of AirTags are able to place them on the underside of cars or in an article of clothing. The intention was merely to track keys or smaller, easy-to-lose items. Instead, malicious actors have used them to stalk individuals and steal cars.
Law enforcement agencies are currently working with Apple to identify ways to prevent the misuse of this technology.
“Currently, iPhone users will receive a notification if an AirTag is separated from its owners and is moving with them over time – if their phone is running IOS 14.5 or later,” if they have the proper settings enabled, according to NPR.
Legislator Leslie Kennedy urges residents not to panic if they find an AirTag on their person or property. The best thing to do in that situation is to immediately contact law enforcement. Some sources suggest doing so from a public space instead of driving directly to a police station. This way, you don’t inadvertently alert your tracker that you are in touch with the police.
“My office is currently working in close contact with the Suffolk County Police Department to discover the prevalence of this new tactic in Suffolk County,” said Legislator Leslie Kennedy.
Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy represents the 12th Legislative District, encompassing Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, the Village of the Branch, Lake Grove, parts of Commack, Ronkonkoma, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach. Legislator Kennedy was born and raised on Long Island, is a former nurse and small business manager, and has dedicated her life toward the betterment of our community. She currently serves on the following committees: Environment, Parks & Agriculture; Veterans & Consumer Affairs; Budget & Finance (Vice Chair); Fire, Rescue and Emergency Medical Services & Preparedness; Education & Labor; Public Safety; Ways & Means (Vice Chair); and Health (Chair).