Apple Hit with Class Action Over AirTag Stalking

Two people have filed a class-action complaint against Apple, Inc. over Apple’s item tracking product AirTag. They allege that AirTags have empowered stalkers, who illicitly place the tags on their victims. 

The complaint describes that even before the release of AirTags, industry experts were sounding the alarm as to the technology’s potential nefarious uses. The product, a keychain-sized button, can be affixed to a customer’s keys, purse, or other such important item. Then, should the individual lose the item in question, they can use the AirTag’s Bluetooth capability to find it. In short, AirTags connect to every iPhone, iPad, and Apple computer to determine their location. If an individual has lost a tag, other users can receive notifications and can use their phone, tablet, or computer to find the lost item. 

Despite Apple’s assurances that AirTags were “stalker-proof,” numerous individuals, including the lead plaintiffs, have allegedly discovered AirTags placed on their person without consent. 

According to the complaint, one plaintiff was the victim of stalking in August 2021 after the end of a three-month-long relationship. She later discovered that sshe was being tracked by an AirTag hidden on her car after relocating to a hotel for her safety. Per the complaint, Apple employees could not determine how long the AirTag had been in place, and she said she experienced further stalking as recently as March of this year.

The second plaintiff, according to the complaint, discovered multiple AirTags hidden in her daughter’s backpack after a divorce. She said she was unable to use Apple software to screen for further AirTags, because there are so many in range of her phone in the densely populated area where she resides.

The plaintiffs seek class certification for six classes and sub-classes. A class each for all iPhone and Android users who have been victimized by stalkers using AirTags; a class each for all iPhone and Android users in the country, who the plaintiffs describe as being at risk for stalking; a subclass for residents of thirty-five states; and a subclass for residents of New York, where the state has additional privacy protections.

The plaintiffs filed the complaint in the Northern District of California, where Apple is headquartered; California also has a number of state laws which the plaintiffs claim Apple has breached on top of Federal Trade Commission regulations. They are represented by Milstein, Jackson, Fairchild & Wade, LLP; Lynch Carpenter; and wh Law.