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New Apple AirTag is used to track people

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – A subject of controversy is being discussed around the new Apple AirTag and how it is used to track people down.

Police say they saw him locally.

“You could be followed and you wouldn’t even know it,” said Carlee Kibler, a Clinton victim of AirTag stalking, “it’s scary.”

Technology is supposed to make life more convenient, not more difficult.

Released in April 2021, the Apple AirTag is a tiny little tracking device costing $ 29.99 that is meant to solve a problem we all face – the loss of things. It solves it by being able to attach to the items we lose the most, like purses or car keys.

It’s also used to track people, and viewers say it’s just happening in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas.

Kibler says she got a scary notification on her iPhone after a night out at the bar with her fiancee.

“Ten minutes after I got home, I got an alert from my phone that there was an unknown device that had been traveling with me for some time and that the user could see my location,” Kibler said. .

Apple claims to have made the AirTag “stalker-proof.” Once it’s been assigned to the owner’s iPhone, it can’t be shared or connected to another phone.

If an AirTag is near another iPhone that does not belong to its owner, that phone will be notified that it is being tracked. Of course, only if it’s an iPhone.

Released in mid-December, Samsung users can now get an app called “Tracker Detect” which will allow the person to be notified if an AirTag is found nearby. Without the app, the user will not receive a notification that they are being tracked.

After three days, however, the AirTag will beep if it hasn’t been near its owner’s iPhone.

However, these built-in precautions do not appear to be enough to prevent users from tracking other people.

The size of an AirTag device is about the size of a quarter. If it is hidden, it is difficult to see. Some AirTag owners have hidden the device inside or outside people’s cars in order to track their location.

Burlington Police have seen this happen several times over the past few weeks. “They’re pretty sporadic,” said Officer Jacob Jenkins, “we’ve had two in [the gym] Sports Works … one is happening at the mall in West Burlington, one is happening at Walmart, [and] then there was another one somewhere.

The quarter-sized device has caused a sticky situation for police due to its size, preventing them from finding it in the cars of people who claim to have been tagged.

“We couldn’t find one because they’re so small,” Jenkins said, “at this point we don’t know how to move the investigation forward until we find the AirTags.”

Police say because it is such a new phenomenon, they don’t even know how to deal with it. Officer Jenkins says that because nothing has happened to the victims yet, he and his partner are trying to figure out why the cars and the people who own them are being tagged.

“You look at the harassment, maybe the stalking, or if they just identify them to steal them, you look at the theft,” Jenkins said.

A common denominator is that people seem to get the notifications after traveling in their car.

“He showed a map on my phone of everywhere I was since 7.25am that night,” Kibler said, “then he showed me to go to the babysitter to pick up my child, [then] go to the gas station, then he showed me to go home. So the person already had my address.

Kibler says his fiancee tried to call Apple about the problem, but they told him to call the police.

Burlington Police, however, said they were unable to reach Apple. “I tried to contact Apple, the law enforcement number twice, but couldn’t reach anyone,” Jenkins said.

A hard-to-find device, barely bigger than the size of a quarter, can track every location it has been with an exact measurement. Unless found and analyzed by the police, it is anonymous.

“It’s scary because now they have my address and everything,” Kibler said, “and they’re like watching where I’m going. It’s very scary.

It is the ultimate violation of privacy.

TV6 Investigates has contacted Apple for comment. A spokesperson quickly responded with the statement:

“We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to protecting the privacy and security of AirTag. AirTag is designed with a set of proactive features to deter unwanted tracking – an industry first – that notify users if an unknown AirTag might be with them and deter bad actors from using an AirTag for nefarious purposes. If users feel their safety is threatened, they are encouraged to contact local law enforcement who can work with Apple to provide all available information on the Unknown AirTag.

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