Apple AirTags Used in Criminal Activity

Am I being followed?

That’s the question lurking in the back of many a mind nowadays as news reports surface about a tiny but potentially dangerous device released by Apple on April 30, 2021. The AirTag is, essentially, a tracker. It was built to find things we often misplace, like keys.

Unfortunately, however, the AirTag has also become the newest tool in a criminal’s bag of goodies. At $29, it is an affordable way to steal, stalk, even murder.


No Privacy

People have found AirTags, which have been “selling out consistently since their unveiling,” between car cushions, in gas caps, behind license plates. Canadian police “investigated five incidents of thieves placing AirTags on ‘high-end vehicles so they can later locate and steal them.’” They’ve been dropped inside coat pockets and backpacks. Some are so well hidden that they are never found at all. 

The Washington Post technology columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler published a review of the product one week after its launch. His article essentially documented a week-long test scenario, wherein Fowler enlisted a co-worker to “stalk” him with the “1.26-inch disc.”

The AirTag, once paired with the co-worker’s iPhone, was placed in Fowler’s backpack. For the next week, the co-worker was able to track Fowler’s whereabouts through Find My, a default app on most Apple devices.

“When I was riding a bike around San Francisco, the AirTag updated my location once every few minutes with a range of about half a block. When I was more stationary at home, my colleague’s app reported my exact address,” Fowler stated. “These location reports go back only to the AirTag’s owner; nobody else knows where they are.”

The AirTag’s owner is, in other words, the possessor of the iPhone, or whatever Apple device, paired with it.

Apple didn’t leave victims completely in the dark—as long as they own “an iPhone 6S or newer with the latest iOS software.” These fortunate people receive a conspicuous alert on their phones: “AirTag Found Moving With You.”

But what if you aren’t up on the latest technology, or worse, what if you don’t have an iPhone at all? No notification is given except “15 seconds of light chirping” emitting from the tag three days after it gets planted on its victim. Apple has since released an update that instead sounds the alarm “at a random time inside a window lasting between 8 and 24 hours.” On December 13, the tech giant also put out an AirTag app for Android called Tracker Detect, albeit to dismal ratings.One user criticized, “It’s as if Apple saw the bare minimum they needed to do and managed to do less.”

After Fowler’s article was published, news outlets began reporting increasing instances of AirTag victims. Los Angeleno Ashley Estrada, who posted a now viral video on TikTok of her experience, commented, “This shows that the technology can be used for good and bad purposes.”

Indeed, an Apple AirTag attached to a lost wallet is one thing; an Apple AirTag attached to a person without consent is another. “AirTag has your back,” is Apple’s catchy refrain—except, of course, if you’re the victim. 

Eva Galperin, nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation’s director of cybersecurity, highlighted “the ubiquity of Apple’s products.” She added, “The network that Apple has access to is larger and more powerful than that used by the other trackers. It’s more powerful for tracking and more dangerous for stalking.”

CNET, in an informative article on “how to protect yourself” from the dangers of the AirTag, quoted Erica Olsen, an administrator with nonprofit National Network to End Domestic Violence, who said, “Technology doesn’t cause abuse, but it can facilitate it. … Abusive people will use any tactic they can to establish power and control.”

Similarly, Fowler observed that “many victims live with their abusers.” Even with the shortened time frame to alert a tag’s separation from its owner, victims may never realize that they are being monitored.


Draining the Battery of Sin

Might we all, however, be like those victims, unaware of the sin stalking our souls? Do you feel as though you can never be freed from your own lusts, that you can never escape your addictions? Do you return nightly to your accuser, Satan, who whispers defeat and hopelessness into your very bones? Are you “a slave of sin”? (John 8:34).

The easiest and quickest way to disable a planted AirTag is “by twisting counter-clockwise on the back by the Apple logo and taking the battery out.” Did you know that you can unplug from sin too?

God gives each of us this promise in His Word: “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). We are to be “blameless” (Philippians 2:15); we are to be “faultless” (Jude 24). We are to “be perfect, just as [our] Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Is this even possible? It is impossible—except with our Savior. “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

For a complete understanding of “How Perfect Should a Christian Be?” watch Pastor Doug Batchelor’s biblical explanation.

Follow that up with our free, online book Is It Possible to Live Without Sinning?

Power off the battery of sin and plug into life in Christ. Christ in you will give victory over sin; Christ in you will overcome. Claim this truth: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.
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