New Apple Air Tag Threatens Privacy, Safety

Air Tags now being used to track the unsuspecting

Lucky Lillygreen, Contributing Writer

Is Apple’s new invention, the AirTag, really all that helpful? As with all technology, there is the potential to go wrong. Technology is designed with a purpose and with intent. However, sometimes it’s not used in the way it’s designed to be used. There have already been issues with the AirTag and it has the potential to be incredibly dangerous. 

In addition to the dangerously high price tag for the small item it is, priced at $29.00, here’s everything you need to know about the AirTag. It recently came out on April 20th of this year and is simply an iPhone accessory. It is similar to the Tile tracker, but specifically targeted to iPhone users as it connects to the iCloud. Apple describes the AirTag as a “small and elegantly designed accessory that can be personalized with free engraving, and enables iPhone users to securely locate and keep track of their valuables using the Find My app.” Its key feature–Precision Finding– is unmatched and unique to this device. If you lose an item, you can play a sound, identify its location, and get detailed turn by turn steps on how to get to your lost item. However, is this really necessary if it has so much potential to be used in the wrong way?

Given its tiny stature, many have found ways to misuse the intention of the AirTag and negatively impact the world by tracking others. Ashley Estrada, a 24 year old woman who lives in Los Angeles, found an AirTag that wasn’t hers tucked behind her license plate. Ashley shares, “I was hanging out with my cousin’s girlfriend, and next thing you know she gets a notification on her phone, which is how we found out, because it told us. It says first seen at 7:34, so that’s when they put it on my car. Then it said ‘Play Sound,’ which is what we did…and this is how we were able to detect where it was on my car.” When she connected it to her phone, she found that it had accurately tracked every location she had been to that day. The AirTag is no longer serving the original intention of the device. It was used to either track the car to steal it later on, or the person inside of it. This is a major safety concern. Apple did implement a safety feature alerting you if an AirTag that isn’t synced up to your iCloud account is near you, but it doesn’t take away the fear that an AirTag could be hidden on your car right now. 

In addition to the safety concerns with this device, many have found it unnecessary. Justin Karels, a technology specialist, does not have an air tag. Karels says, “I don’t know what I would use it for, personally. It would be cool to have something in my keys or wallet. I know they are already making wallets with a spot to have the AirTag to go into. It comes down to the kind of person you are. There are some uses for it but I can never justify spending $30 dollars on one.” When asked about the safety concerns of this device, he says, “I think it’s despicable, but I think that technology is going to bring out the best, but also be taken advantage of and what’s stopping someone from doing that with an iPhone that’s 2-3 years old that’s paired to their iCloud account. They could easily put it in a wheel well and have the same result.”