In April last year, Apple released its AirTag device which was designed as a way for people to track and find any object they might have lost. In the several months since the device was launched, there have been numerous complaints of criminals using the device to stalk people or steal items. One of the latest prominent complaints about the device is from 25-year-old supermodel Brooks Nader who has been featured in magazines like Illustrated Swimsuit.
In a recent Instagram video, Nader revealed her stalking incident. While waiting for a person at a bar in Tribeca, Nader placed her coat on a chair behind her. After some time, she went to another bar and then moved on to other places. Around 11:30 PM, she was walking back to her home alone when halfway through her journey Nader received a notification on her phone that someone was tracking her. She soon found that the culprit was an AirTag, which Nader says is used for “horrible” things like stalking, and human trafficking.
“I had no idea that these existed until it happened to me … [She is] trying to raise awareness and tell all my ladies out there to watch your belongings, look out for the notification… The only silver lining is that I actually got notified that someone was tracking me… I don’t think that happens with Tile or any of those other devices. So just check your belongings, check your surroundings,” Nader said in the video. Calling it the “scariest, scariest” moment of her life, Nader warned everyone of the threat posed by AirTags.
Roughly the size of a coin, AirTags had courted controversy immediately after its launch due to its privacy issues. An app called Find My iPhone, which is preinstalled in Apple devices, allows people to track other people’s AirTags that might be on them.
In December, Apple launched an Android version of the app called Tracker Detect after complaints that non-iPhone users were helpless against stalkers using AirTags.
“Tracker Detect gives Android users the ability to scan for an AirTag or supported Find My enabled item trackers that might be traveling with them without their knowledge. We are raising the bar on privacy for our users and the industry, and hope others will follow,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement at the time.
If someone were to place an AirTag inside an individual’s coat or bags, they can track the individual’s movements via the AirTag using Apple’s Find My Network technology. Find My Network makes use of over 1 billion Apple iPhones and other devices to track the location of AirTags.
In a statement to Engadget, an Apple spokesperson claimed that the company takes the safety of its customers “very seriously” and that it is committed to ensuring AirTags’ security and privacy. If people find that they are at risk due to an AirTag, they should “contact law enforcement” who will work with Apple to resolve the issue.
“AirTag is designed with a set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking — a first in the industry — that both inform users if an unknown AirTag might be with them, and deter bad actors from using an AirTag for nefarious purposes,” the spokesperson stated.
In December, Fox News interviewed a woman who had faced a similar situation as Nader. While going back to her home after visiting a store, she received an alert on her phone that an AirTag was moving with her.
“I went out with my siblings. I searched the car. We took everything out. We emptied purses. We emptied the car out. We looked underneath, behind the license plate, in the gas tank but we couldn’t find anything,” the woman said.