It's time to take Apple AirTags off the market

varase

Honorable
Oct 29, 2016
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Wow ... you've really made it hard to comment on an article.

AirTags are just one product in the tracker market, and they are no more dangerous than any other tracker - less so, because Apple actually cares about the potential for involuntary tracking.

The only reason those people know they were being tracked is because Apple put in tracker detection - unlike others like Tile (who was actually selling location data).

Gotta say: I think the benefits for tracking lost items is more valuable for me than the dangers - if you're in a target class you can install software that detects potential threats (if you're not on iOS).
 
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Reactions: Mikezthoughts
Apr 8, 2022
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Creepy stalkers are not dedicated to any one particular technology ecosystem they will use whatever they can!
This is only labeled as an "air tag" issue because Apple has been transparent about these tags.
It would be foolish to think that this already hasn't been going on with the tile and the Samsung tag.
Again the key difference being that Apple notifies you if you have an air tag on you whereas tile and Samsung do not.
 
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Apr 8, 2022
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Why do I think the people who disagree with the danger of being stalked using this technology are probably men? Similar to how anytime the topic of the security steps a person takes simply to walk to their car, or walk alone comes up... Women have a very different take on all the precautions you need to take just to feel almost safe than men do.
 

Mark Spoonauer

Editor-in-Chief
Jan 21, 2014
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Wow ... you've really made it hard to comment on an article.

AirTags are just one product in the tracker market, and they are no more dangerous than any other tracker - less so, because Apple actually cares about the potential for involuntary tracking.

The only reason those people know they were being tracked is because Apple put in tracker detection - unlike others like Tile.

Gotta say: I think the benefits for tracking lost items is more valuable for me than the dangers - if you're in a target class you can install software that detects potential threats (if you're not on iOS).
You make a good point. Other trackers can be used for the same thing. However, Apple has an opportunity to lead on this issue. And I am suggesting that they pause sales until more safeguards can be put into place. And you're a potential victim, having to install an app on Android is a step that most won't know that they have to take. Plus, you have to scan manually. It really needs to happen at the OS level for Android and I think Apple and other tracker makers should work to make this happen.
 
Apr 8, 2022
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I can't be sure, but my guess why you think that is you - like many - have be taught the contemptuous practice of illegitimizing people's opinions based on things like their gender, race, and orientation rather than confront their arguments on their own merits.

I'm a woman, and no, my various lives experiences does not make me particularly fearful of this tech. While Mark makes a decent point that much could be done on an OS level to make them safer, I simply would never want to see innovation and helpful tech in 99.9% of cases be shuttered because of bad people doing bad things.

It'd be akin to thinking we should shut down comment sections to protect against bullying, social media to protect against stalking, and mass public transportation to cut down on physical assaults. Like obviously doing that would help, but the trade off ultimately isn't worth it, and there's countless other steps that could be taken to protect women and allow innocent people to have nice things.
 
Apr 9, 2022
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Nothing Apple, nor Google, nor the media has proposed to fix this problem thus far actually fixes the problem, which is the massive, surveillance dragnet Apple deployed on behalf of PRISM and NSA by implementing BLE tracking defaults across all its devices. Indeed, Airtags are a commercial and social psyop, designed to encourage the use of non user modifiable BLE trackers to locate other BLE trackers. Going all the way back to Facebook's inception, the pattern technology giants and the military industrial complex developed was designed to normalize dragnet surveillance by allowing consumers to co-opt it by spying on friends and family, albeit what those individuals voluntarily posted about themselves. This is the next logical step: if you don't have a tracking device configured in a way to let Big Brother secretly get telemetry on your location 24 hours a day, you won't know when your psycho ex boyfriend or neighborhood car thief is stalking you. That's psyops 101.

Everything written on this topic by the media so far is endemic of not seeing the forest for the trees, tantamount to Vichy journalism. If you want to fix the problem, order a radio bug sweeper on Amazon or similar, turn OFF Find My, turn OFF Bluetooth on your device, and turn OFF any radio on your device you aren't using, and if necessary, drop the damn thing in a faraday bag.

But I digress because we've crossed the Rubicon with Apple. They cannot be trusted. Gone are the days when Steve Jobs would use the legal department to litigate against the government for wanting exactly what it's getting now. Buy a droid and run it with Lineage or Graphene. Better yet, don't bother with any software that isn't open source. The first rule of backdooring software is the clipwrap agreement.
 
Apr 9, 2022
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I can't be sure, but my guess why you think that is you - like many - have be taught the contemptuous practice of illegitimizing people's opinions based on things like their gender, race, and orientation rather than confront their arguments on their own merits.

I'm a woman, and no, my various lives experiences does not make me particularly fearful of this tech. While Mark makes a decent point that much could be done on an OS level to make them safer, I simply would never want to see innovation and helpful tech in 99.9% of cases be shuttered because of bad people doing bad things.

It'd be akin to thinking we should shut down comment sections to protect against bullying, social media to protect against stalking, and mass public transportation to cut down on physical assaults. Like obviously doing that would help, but the trade off ultimately isn't worth it, and there's countless other steps that could be taken to protect women and allow innocent people to have nice things.
1. The 4th Amendment is not a gender, race, or orientation issue.

2. The "helpful tech" you're referring to is CO-TRAVELER on steroids. Cell phone triangulation sucked so they consumerized GPS. GPS didn't work well indoors so they consumerized Bluetooth Low Energy. The tech isn't designed to help you run a national security apparatus that relies on AI to process discrete real-time locations of millions to within 15 feet, indoors or outdoors, by tethering IMSI/IMEI to PII and biometrics.

3. We should shut down comments sections if their only real purpose is to dox users and monitor dissidents (WaPo is a great example). Most of them are dead anyway, which is why most of the issues 'people' talk about there are sideshows with tangential connections to the central thesis. Of course, one would have to possess an ego and not an algorithm to see the trap here, or minimum level of intelligence to see past the noise.
 

pcunix

Distinguished
Jul 20, 2011
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This is very poor quality for Tom's Guide. The author is the Editor in Chief? Wow. I don't think I'll be subscribing to any more from this site.
 

varase

Honorable
Oct 29, 2016
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You make a good point. Other trackers can be used for the same thing. However, Apple has an opportunity to lead on this issue. And I am suggesting that they pause sales until more safeguards can be put into place. And you're a potential victim, having to install an app on Android is a step that most won't know that they have to take. Plus, you have to scan manually. It really needs to happen at the OS level for Android and I think Apple and other tracker makers should work to make this happen.
The only reason this wasn't an issue with other trackers, is because no one who was tracked knew they were being tracked - well, that and the fact that the others just don't work as advertised.

I mean, for a Tile to be remotely seen the tracker would have to run across someone running the Tile app - which has a slightly better chance than running into a Yeti.

What other safeguards could be put in place?

It's a little $30 coin with very little electronics in it.

Apple could tell Google how to put detection into Android, but what if you don't have a smartphone?
 
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