Pennsylvania takes steps to punish folks who use devices such as AirTags to illegally track someone

Pennsylvania's government has taken steps to punish folks who use devices such as AirTags to illegally track someone.

Pennsylvania has take a step toward becoming the latest state to punish someone for using a Bluetooth-connected device such as an AirTag to track someone without their permission reports AP News.

The state House of Representatives voted 199-1 to approve legislation that would make using a tracking device to secretly track another person part of Pennsylvania’s laws against stalking. The crime would be punishable as a third-degree misdemeanor, or up to 90 days in jail.

Now the bill goes to the Senate, where a separate bill is pending that would make the crime a second-degree misdemeanor, or punishable by up to two years in jail. This follows a federal judges refusal to dismiss a class-action lawsuit contending that Apple hasn’t done enough to prevent stalkers from using its AirTag devices to track victims.

Last month U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco ruled that three plaintiffs in a class-action suit had made sufficient claims for negligence and product liability. In December 2022 two women sued Apple, saying the company’s AirTag devices make it easy for stalker to track and terrorize victims.

The lawsuit claims that the safeguards in place, which include alerting iPhone users if an unknown AirTag is found to be following them, are “woefully inadequate, and do little, if anything, to promptly warn individuals if they are being tracked.”

In February 2023, Apple posted an article about the matter. Read the entire article for details, but here are two important paragraphs: We’ve become aware that individuals can receive unwanted tracking alerts for benign reasons, such as when borrowing someone’s keys with an AirTag attached, or when traveling in a car with a family member’s AirPods left inside. We also have seen reports of bad actors attempting to misuse AirTag for malicious or criminal purposes.

Apple has been working closely with various safety groups and law enforcement agencies. Through our own evaluations and these discussions, we have identified even more ways we can update AirTag safety warnings and help guard against further unwanted tracking.

The article further explains Apple’s goals for the AirTag and how the company is working with law enforcement.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.