(Repeating unchanged for wider distribution)
By Jonathan Stempel
Dec 6 (Reuters) – Apple Inc has been sued by two women who said their AirTag devices have made it easier for ex-partners and other stalkers to locate victims.
In a class action lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco, the women said Apple has failed to protect people from unwanted traffic via AirTag since it released what it called the “harasser-proof” device in April 2021.
Starting at $29, AirTags are 1-1/4 inches (3.2 cm) in diameter and are designed to be attached or attached to keys, purses, backpacks and other items so people can find them when they’re lost.
But privacy experts and law enforcement have said that some people use Airtags for criminal or malicious purposes.
The plaintiffs called AirTag “the weapon of choice for stalkers and abusers,” and said it has been linked to the murders this year of women in Akron, Ohio and Indianapolis.
Monday’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for US owners of iOS or Android-based devices that were tracked by AirTag or are “at risk” of being harassed due to Apple’s alleged negligence.
Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The Cupertino, California-based company has acknowledged that “bad actors” have attempted to misuse Airtags.
In February, Apple announced planned updates to make devices easier to find and warn users faster that unknown AirTags might be “traveling with them.”
One of the plaintiffs in Monday’s lawsuit, Lauren Hughes, said her ex-boyfriend found out where she had moved to avoid it after attaching an AirTag to her car’s steering wheel well.
She said she later posted a photo online of a taco truck from her new neighborhood and included a winking emoji with the hashtag “#airt2.0.”
The other plaintiff, Jane Doe, said her estranged husband tracked her down after putting an AirTag in their son’s backpack.
The case is Hughes et al v. Apple Inc, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 22-07668. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)