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Proposed Ohio legislation would criminalize AirTag stalking

·Weekend Editor
·2 min read
Engadget

A group of bipartisan lawmakers in Ohio has introduced a bill to criminalize AirTag stalking. If passed by the state legislature, HB672 would “prohibit a person from knowingly installing a tracking device or application on another’s property without the other person’s consent.”

Ohio lawmakers decided to tackle the growing problem of remote tracker stalking after 3News lobbied the government to take action. In February, the news station found a loophole in state law that allows those with no prior record of stalking or domestic violence to track someone without potential penalty. According to an investigation by the outlet, fewer than two dozen states have enacted laws against electronic tracking, Ohio being among the group that has not drafted specific legislation against the behavior.

A recent report from Motherboard suggested AirTag stalking isn’t an issue limited to a few high-profile incidents. After the outlet requested any records mentioning AirTags from a dozen US police departments, it received 150 reports. Of those, 50 involved cases where women thought someone was secretly using the device to track them.

In February, Apple said it would implement additional safety features to prevent AirTag stalking. Later in the year, the company plans to add a precision finding feature that will allow those with iPhone 11, 12 and 13 series devices to find their way to an unknown AirTag. The tool will display the direction of and distance to an unwanted AirTag. Apple said it would also update its unwanted tracking alerts to notify people of potential stalkers earlier.

“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products," the company said at the time. “We design our products to provide a great experience, but also with safety and privacy in mind. Across Apple’s hardware, software, and services teams, we’re committed to listening to feedback.”