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Apple’s AirTag is a gift for stalkers

Apple’s AirTag is a gift for stalkers

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When apple first When Steve Jobs announced the launch of the iPod, he promised to put “thousands of songs in your pocket.” Twenty years later, when Apple launched its newest device, AirTags, it promised to place a global tracking network in your pocket, wallet, or anywhere else where you can hide micro devices. AirTag is a Bluetooth-enabled homing beacon, about a quarter of the size. They are seen as a good way to track lost luggage or keys, but they may become the latest way for abusers to stalk survivors’ intimate partner violence.

Yes it is, Stalker The account already exists on the phone, and the compromised account may reveal your location.However, there are also known defenses against these threats, whether it is two-factor authentication, antivirus software for mobile phones, or even Apple’s own antivirus software guide When your security is threatened, ensure that your account and settings are safe.

The threat of AirTag is different. AirTag is easy to hide in the target’s leather bag or car, so that the abuser can easily track its location.This is similar to the threat posed by other trackers, such as watt, But the scale is much larger. The weight and size of the tiles are roughly the same as AirTag, the only difference is: the absolute size of the network. When a Tile is lost or stolen, it will try to communicate with nearby Tile users, burdening their cell or Wi-Fi connection to communicate with the owner. You may not be within the Bluetooth range of a Tile user (about 30 feet) all day, but try not to be within 30 feet of the iPhone or iPad all day. Tile measures tens of thousands of users. Apple has more than one billion.

By default, Apple includes almost all iOS devices in its global tracking network. If you want to log out, you have to browse through a maze of menu options that will be unavailable to everyone except the most skilled technicians. Apple offers the illusion of choice, consent and fantasy, but nothing more.

For iPhone users, Apple provides a new software alert to make them aware of potential tracking phenomena. Although the feature is quite difficult to use, if users suspect that they are being monitored, they can go to the settings menu and look for an unfamiliar AirTag to give them peace of mind. However, if the survivors do not have a mobile phone or Android device, then they are out of luck. Only after 72 hours of separation from the owner, AirTag will remind people with a 60 decibel tone, About the same volume as the dishwasher or casual conversation. If the AirTag is not within range of the paired phone for three consecutive days, it will easily make a low or bypassed beep, which means that abusers who live with the survivor (which is common) can reset the clock frequently .

Even if the abuser does not live with the survivor, this is still a free three-day stalking behavior, followed by the warning sound, which is easy to miss and is useless for inaudibility. Apple’s failure to take the safety of people outside the Apple ecosystem seriously is inexcusable. It is not enough for Apple to protect iOS users. Billions of Android users should also be protected from tracking. The single most important step Apple should take is to create an Android app to alert users to trackers nearby. You don’t have to own an Apple device to know if you are safe from Apple products. In addition, those of us who have Apple devices should not be added to the tracking network without our consent. Apple should only add users who have opted in. The long and painful history is that stalkers and abusers choose seemingly harmless technology.Abusers often use the location tracking service built into many home cell phone plans, so much so that Congress Legislation forward Reduce the threat.

Apple needs to take domestic abuse and stalking seriously. More than ten million Americans may face stalking in their lifetime, and more than one million Americans face this threat every year.​​ The incidence of intimate partner violence is even higher, More than a quarter of women and 10% of men report abuse. These are not outliers. This is a violent epidemic that has touched almost every corner of our world. When Apple fails to protect survivors, the consequences can be fatal. Apple’s leadership needs to take a central position in the development process of abusers and experts, absorbing their feedback from the beginning. Otherwise, the company will continue to manufacture products that endanger the people, not products that help people.


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