A woman described her experience of being secretly followed by someone secretly planting an Apple AirTag on her.
Hannah Rose May, an Irish writer and actress, said her location at Disneyland was followed for two hours without her knowledge California a Saturday night in June.
She eventually realized that she was only being tracked because the tag was linked to her smartphone via Bluetooth and sent her a notification.
It is not known who planted the device on coin size on her, or where it was just hidden without her knowledge – possibly in her bag or pocket.
“The happiest place on earth could very easily be turned into my worst nightmare,” she tweeted.
A number of reports in the US have already claimed that people are being unknowingly tracked with AirTags, possibly by stalkers, thieves and sexual predators.
AirTags, launched by Apple in 2021, are small, circular tracking devices, slightly larger than a two-pound coin. One AirTag costs £ 29; keychains are sold separately (file photo)
Hannah Rose May (pictured) is an Irish writer and actress who attended an event at Disneyland California
May described her experience of secretly following an AirTag on June 25 in a Twitter thread
WHAT AIRTAGS ARE?
AirTags, launched by Apple in 2021, are small, circular tracking devices, slightly larger than a two-pound coin, on sale for £ 29 each.
Users can find personal items attached to an AirTag – such as wallets, keys, luggage or even a set of bikes – by using a map on Apple’s ‘Find My’ app.
But AirTag owners are increasingly using coin-sized devices to plant people without their knowledge, and then tracking their whereabouts on the Find My map.
The incident happened on June 25 when May attended an after-hours event at Disneyland California.
She said she only found out after two hours that she was being followed because she received a notification from the Find My app.
“I got a Find My Notification at the end of the night that I did not think about, but opened it anyway and it turned out that this … someone had been following me for two hours,” May said in a Twitter thread.
‘Airtags are the size of a coin. It’s awful how easy they are to slip into a pocket or purse.
‘Originally made to locate your keys, it’s clear they’re being used more or less well.’
AirTags can connect to nearby smartphones via Bluetooth, and so a Find Me notification will appear on a person’s phone when an unknown AirTag is found ‘traveling’ with them, even if they have the Find My app not installed.
Apple also created an app for Android devices called Tracker Detect, so that Android devices can detect AirTags and iPhones.
Users can also assign AirTag to an item and name it with a default such as ‘Keys’ or ‘Jacket’, or provide a custom name of their choice. Once AirTag is set up, it will appear in the new Items tab in the Find My app, where users can view the current or last known location of the item on a map
It is a small, circular device with an Apple logo in the center, and is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity to pair with an iPhone or iPad. Using the ‘Find My’ app, the system provides step-by-step instructions for locating the tag and the missing product
The Find My Notification on May phone read: ‘Your current location can be seen by the owner of this item. You can carry this item, or it may lie nearby. If this item is not known to you, you can disable it and stop sharing your location ‘
May said she was grateful to Apple for warning her, although she added that she thinks ‘it should inform us sooner rather than later.’
She also shared a screenshot of where she was traveling while being followed – from around Disneyland, down to a parking lot just off South Harbor Boulevard, where she turned it off.
When asked for comment on the incident, a spokesman for Apple sent MailOnline a statement published in February, following media reports of abuse of technology.
“AirTag is designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track another person’s property or property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products,” the statement said.
May shared a screenshot of where she was traveling while being followed by the AirTag – from around Disneyland, to a parking lot just off South Harbor Boulevard, where she turned off the device
‘Unwanted tracking has long been a societal issue, and we took this concern seriously in designing AirTag.
‘That’s why the Find My Network was built with privacy in mind, uses end-to-end encryption, and why we’ve innovated with the first proactive system to warn you of unwanted tracking.’
Apple also said that incidents of AirTag abuse were rare, but that ‘each instance is one too many’.
The company also confirmed that it has identified ‘additional improvements’ it can make in helping law enforcement on AirTag-related applications.
Apple’s AirTags can be personalized with a custom message like an emoji, on their laser-etched stainless steel body. They are small enough to slip into someone’s bag or clothes without their knowledge
In addition, Apple said it was looking for a new ‘precision finding feature’ that would accurately locate unknown AirTags and tune the sound of unwanted tracking alerts to make the device easier to find.
According to a study by Vice earlier this year, 150 police reports from dozens of U.S. police departments involved AirTags over a period of eight months.
Of the 150 reports, 50 cases involved women who had called the police as they began receiving notifications that their whereabouts were being followed by an AirTag they did not have.
In one case, a woman called the police to report that her ex had cut off her tires and left an AirTag in the car to see her.
WOMEN discover fear of stalkers after finding APPLE AIRTAG devices hidden on their cars
Women in the US have come forward with horror stories about finding Apple AirTag tracking devices hidden in their cars, bags, jackets and other items.
The $ 30 wireless devices were designed to help keep track of items that people often misplace, such as keys or wallets, but are increasingly being used by suspected stalkers to track women.
‘I think they would have absolutely hurt me. I do not think you are doing this for no reason, ‘she said Inside Edition. “It took almost 14 hours to let me know this was happening,” she said.
Another Atlanta woman contacted police after being informed she was being followed by an AirTag.
“I randomly got a notification on my phone that said something about how there is an AirTag that is not mine that has been with me,” the woman told police.
Bodycam footage recorded the scene as police assisted the woman in searching her car and eventually found an AirTag in her gas tank.
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