Two women are suing Apple, claiming stalkers used AirTags to track them

Two women are suing Apple, claiming stalkers used AirTags to track them


Lauren Hughes had just returned to her hotel in October 2021 when her phone displayed an alert for an unknown Apple AirTag somewhere near her.

Hughes, who had moved to the hotel after her ex-boyfriend started harassing her, tried to ring the AirTag so she could find him, but only heard it once, according to a court record. She said she found the AirTag in the wheel well of a tire on her car.

The discovery of the tracking device, which had been stained with a marker and wrapped in plastic, left her “terrified,” according to the court filing.

On Monday, Hughes and an unnamed second woman filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, claiming the company failed to make its AirTags “stalker-proof” despite concerns from domestic violence advocates during the release. technology last year. The lawsuit in the Northern District of California accuses Apple of negligence, design flaws and privacy violations, among other allegations.

“Ms. Hughes continues to fear for her safety – at a minimum, her stalker has demonstrated a commitment to continue using AirTags to track, harass and threaten her, and continues to use AirTags to find her location,” indicates the trial.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment directly on the lawsuit, instead pointing to a February statement about “unwanted tracking” with AirTags, which the company said “we condemn in the strongest terms possible.” Apple now has information on what to do when alerted to an AirTag, including tapping the notification to listen to the sound of the device and locate it.

Since AirTags were introduced in April 2021 in a bid to make it easier for people to locate personal effects such as wallets and luggage, critics have pointed out that Bluetooth-enabled devices could be used by predators.

Even with those warnings, according to the lawsuit, Apple “moved forward recklessly, dismissing concerns” before and after the technology was released.

The two plaintiffs are both victims of harassment and are suing on their behalf and on behalf of others “who have been and are at risk of being harassed via this dangerous product,” according to the complaint.

Hughes, who lives in Travis County, Texas, said in the lawsuit that her ex-boyfriend started stalking her in August 2021 after they broke up. Complaint alleges her ex created fake accounts to follow her on social media, posted their text conversations online and left him threatening voicemails.

He also left a package at Hughes’ apartment with photos of her, according to the lawsuit. The package came with a handwritten note with Hughes’ first name at the top and ending with, “Be well.” This is goodbye,” according to photos included in the lawsuit.

In October last year, Hughes decided to live in a hotel until she could move to a new home, according to the lawsuit. After Hughes found the AirTag on her car, the lawsuit says Apple Store employees she consulted told her they “couldn’t tell” how long the device had been there.

Hughes said in the lawsuit that the police told her all they could do was read her ex-boyfriend a cease and desist.

The second plaintiff in the case, a woman identified as “Jane Doe” from Kings County, NY, said she too was tracked by an ex using an AirTag. Doe said after a “contentious divorce”, her ex-spouse began to wonder where she went with their child and when, according to the lawsuit.

She found an AirTag in the child’s backpack this summer and tried to get rid of it, the complaint says, but soon found another one in the same bag. The woman was unable to confirm whether her ex-husband placed the devices there, but said in the lawsuit that she feared for his safety regardless.

The lawsuit seeks damages for both plaintiffs and others like them, as well as an order prohibiting Apple from “pursuing unlawful, unfair and/or fraudulent practices with respect to the design, manufacture and marketing of its AirTags”.

“With a price tag of just $29, it has become the weapon of choice for stalkers and abusers,” the lawsuit states.

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