Apple refining AirTag privacy, Android anti-stalking app coming soon

2»

Comments

  • Reply 21 of 35
    WTHWTH Posts: 26member
    "Do you really think the average Apple user geofences everything he or she owns?" What? You don't "geofence everything", you specify where your Home or Work locations are in your contact card, so you can use location-aware features of Siri, Find My, etc. If you leave an AirTag at work — even if you haven't specified your work location — if it's not moving, it won't make a sound. Per Apple, "When moved, any AirTag separated for a period of time from the person who registered it will make a sound to alert those nearby." If you loan an item to a friend, and that item is going to be moved around, remove the AirTag first. Also from Apple: "If the AirTag is attached to something you’re borrowing and you want to silence these alerts, tap Pause Safety Alerts."

    You're claiming Apple's new product will fail because "they'll constantly annoy their users", entirely based on false assumptions due to not understanding how the product functions. Any other speculation beyond that is pointless for that reason alone.

    The "real problem" you posit is no more applicable to AirTag than any other tracking device. Guess what, you could already track people with little GPS trackers that work even better than AirTags do. My neighbor retrieved their cat's collar that had a GPS device on it in my yard — were they stalking their cat? Perhaps. If your point is that Apple shouldn't enter this product space, nobody cares, and it's too late anyway. If your point is that Apple will make them "too annoying" and thereby useless, I call bullshit and also nobody cares. If you think this will cause a surge in stalking and violent crimes, I call bullshit.
    I concede to most of your points.  I am still waiting for my backordered AirTags to be delivered, so I am not familiar with all the nuances of their behavior.  Thank you for the clarifications.

    As to the point I'm trying to make - I completely agree that many other tracking devices as just as "dangerous" as the AirTag when it comes to potential stalking, which is why I find the "AirTags will enable stalkers" stories so irritating.  As someone who wants to use a few AirTags as anti-theft devices, it is frustrating to see so much focus on Apple while other manufacturers are ignored.  My concern is that Apple is going to wind up neutering a much superior device for the sake of satisfying critics who will never be happy no matter what Apple does.

    Even an 8 hour minimum time limit isn't going to satisfy the anti-AirTag crowd.  So what's next?  4 hours?  2 hours?  1 hour?  It's all a question of how much further Apple is willing to be pushed.

    Regardless, I've decided that the best approach may be a hardware modification, by removing the speaker magnet altogether.  It seems relatively straightforward, and would make the AirTag far more useful for anti-theft.
  • Reply 22 of 35
    It's becoming pretty useless as theft tracker.
    caladanian
  • Reply 23 of 35
    chaicka said:
    mike1 said:

    Current AirTag anti-stalking measures cause the accessory to play an alert when separated from their owner within three days. Now, it'll play at a random time window that's between eight and 24 hours, CNET reported Thursday.

    That seems problematic. So, the tag in my suitcase that is stored in a closet could start to play an alert if I am away for as little as 8 hours?! That would be every single work day. My wife will hit me over the head with the suitcase after she tracks down the annoying sound and I get home from work.
    There is another use-case which is equally annoying if the anti-stalking measures change to 8-24 hours. Guess some of the use-cases which Apple has not thought about, will become not worthy to try out, or impractical to use AirTag for.

    Use Case #1 - Own Vehicle(s)
    I have an AirTag placed on my own vehicle as a form of anti-theft. This allows me to:
    • be able to locate my own vehicle in large malls (indoor, underground or multi-storey carparks) when I have forgotten which exact area or lot I have parked in;
    • in many countries, we do not live in landed properties but apartment blocks where the carpark is underground or multi-storey hence the AirTag placed in our own vehicle will not be constantly within range of our iPhone;
    • since launch day and placement in my own vehicle, AirTag (and its Find-My network) has become the best anti-theft mechanism any vehicle ever has cause now anyone with an iPhone walking by, I know my vehicle is safely parked at the underground carpark where I live;
    • this use-case allows parents to be able to know if their children may have 'stolen' the vehicle without permission, and potentially where the vehicle/children may have gone to with the 'stolen' vehicle; likewise if it is stolen by a theft.
    Use Case #2 - Suitcase(s)
    I have intended to place AirTag into suitcases we have in the household but it is currently not intended to be a permanent placement (still looking for better AirTag holder but found a relatively cheap one which allows removal while able to stick and semi-conceal it within suitcases. As such, I have spare AirTags sitting at home cabinet only to be taken out and place into the suitcase(s) whenever someone is to travel. But with the new 8-24 hours anti-stalking measures, we will have to either remove/unpair these AirTags from our iPhones only to pair up before our travel(s) and place into the suitcase(s), or we have to somewhat remember to place our iPhones near to the cabinet where the spare AirTags are stored every 8-24 hours.

    There are some other use-cases which I am exploring as PoC but may never become practical to use given how some of the 'operating parameters' of AirTags are going to be. Gonna rethink about my 2nd purchase of 4 AirTags (still in cart) now given the limited use-cases.
    Your use cases have actually been addressed if you read the comments. The short version is that your concerns are understandable but based on a misunderstanding of how AirTags work. 
  • Reply 24 of 35
    It's becoming pretty useless as theft tracker.
    They are also totally useless as a yacht which, like a theft tracker, isn’t what they are advertised or meant to be. 
  • Reply 25 of 35
    WTHWTH Posts: 26member
    Happy_Noodle_Boy said:

    I think you might have meant something other than "Jumping the shark", it doesn't make a whole lot to sense in this context. I don't think Apple is making the change to generate interest in a formally popular product. 


    Yes, a poor choice of words.  More appropriately:  Apple is nerfing the AirTag into uselessness by trying to satisfy a few very vocal critics who can never be satisfied.  A tracking device is a tracking device is a tracking device.  Apple can't make the AirTag useful for finding lost objects while simultaneously making it useless to stalkers.  Nor does it make sense to distinguish between "I want to track a lost object I misplaced" versus "I want to track a lost object that someone took from me".

    I keep seeing the following exchange:

    "I want to use an AirTag to track xxxxx in case it is stolen." 

    "Sorry, the AirTag isn't intended as an anti-theft device."

    That response is irrelevant.  A tracking device is a tracking device is a tracking device.  People are going to use the AirTag for anti-theft applications, regardless of Apple's intent.  Apple cannot separate unintentional loss from intentional loss (theft).  All Apple can do is neuter the AirTag to the point where it becomes completely useless to the vast majority of potential buyers.

    The reduction to an 8-hour limit will do nothing to satisfy the anti-AirTag crowd.  They will continue to demand more and more limitations on the AirTag's functionality, until it devolves into complete uselessness.
    edited June 2021
  • Reply 26 of 35
    CloudTalkinCloudTalkin Posts: 916member
    WTH said:
    "Do you really think the average Apple user geofences everything he or she owns?" What? You don't "geofence everything", you specify where your Home or Work locations are in your contact card, so you can use location-aware features of Siri, Find My, etc. If you leave an AirTag at work — even if you haven't specified your work location — if it's not moving, it won't make a sound. Per Apple, "When moved, any AirTag separated for a period of time from the person who registered it will make a sound to alert those nearby." If you loan an item to a friend, and that item is going to be moved around, remove the AirTag first. Also from Apple: "If the AirTag is attached to something you’re borrowing and you want to silence these alerts, tap Pause Safety Alerts."

    You're claiming Apple's new product will fail because "they'll constantly annoy their users", entirely based on false assumptions due to not understanding how the product functions. Any other speculation beyond that is pointless for that reason alone.

    The "real problem" you posit is no more applicable to AirTag than any other tracking device. Guess what, you could already track people with little GPS trackers that work even better than AirTags do. My neighbor retrieved their cat's collar that had a GPS device on it in my yard — were they stalking their cat? Perhaps. If your point is that Apple shouldn't enter this product space, nobody cares, and it's too late anyway. If your point is that Apple will make them "too annoying" and thereby useless, I call bullshit and also nobody cares. If you think this will cause a surge in stalking and violent crimes, I call bullshit.
    I concede to most of your points.  I am still waiting for my backordered AirTags to be delivered, so I am not familiar with all the nuances of their behavior.  Thank you for the clarifications.

    As to the point I'm trying to make - I completely agree that many other tracking devices as just as "dangerous" as the AirTag when it comes to potential stalking, which is why I find the "AirTags will enable stalkers" stories so irritating.  As someone who wants to use a few AirTags as anti-theft devices, it is frustrating to see so much focus on Apple while other manufacturers are ignored.  My concern is that Apple is going to wind up neutering a much superior device for the sake of satisfying critics who will never be happy no matter what Apple does.

    Even an 8 hour minimum time limit isn't going to satisfy the anti-AirTag crowd.  So what's next?  4 hours?  2 hours?  1 hour?  It's all a question of how much further Apple is willing to be pushed.

    Regardless, I've decided that the best approach may be a hardware modification, by removing the speaker magnet altogether.  It seems relatively straightforward, and would make the AirTag far more useful for anti-theft.
    Curious.  Why are you trying to turn AirTags in to anti-theft devices when they are obviously not anti-theft devices.  If they were, and they're not, they would rank among the poorest anti-theft devices available.  Anti-theft devices are for preventing theft.  An AirTag could no more prevent theft than a Band-Aid could stop blood from hemorrhaging from a gaping chest wound caused by a pack of wild dingos mauling you.   What I think you want is a theft recovery device.  In that capacity the AirTag may be only slightly more useful. 

    I really can't tell what your end game is here.  In a world where myriad dedicated theft prevention devices exist you want to go out of your way to make one out of a device that is in no way designed to perform that function.  It literally makes no sense.  But by all means, you do you.  I'm just not really sure why you want to do you.

    The focus of stalking possibilities is so on Apple because Apple made anti-stalking safety a part of the marketing of the AirTag.  No other vendor did that previously so it was never a focus for anyone.  For any vendor, if they claim their product can prevent, cure, enhance, or otherwise improve what's already available, scrutiny is going to come.  The more popular the vendor, the more scrutiny there will be.  
    gatorguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 27 of 35
    WTHWTH Posts: 26member
    CloudTalkin said:

    Curious.  Why are you trying to turn AirTags in to anti-theft devices when they are obviously not anti-theft devices.  If they were, and they're not, they would rank among the poorest anti-theft devices available.  Anti-theft devices are for preventing theft.  An AirTag could no more prevent theft than a Band-Aid could stop blood from hemorrhaging from a gaping chest wound caused by a pack of wild dingos mauling you.   What I think you want is a theft recovery device.  In that capacity the AirTag may be only slightly more useful.  

    I really can't tell what your end game is here.  In a world where myriad dedicated theft prevention devices exist you want to go out of your way to make one out of a device that is in no way designed to perform that function.  It literally makes no sense.  But by all means, you do you.  I'm just not really sure why you want to do you.

    The focus of stalking possibilities is so on Apple because Apple made anti-stalking safety a part of the marketing of the AirTag.  No other vendor did that previously so it was never a focus for anyone.  For any vendor, if they claim their product can prevent, cure, enhance, or otherwise improve what's already available, scrutiny is going to come.  The more popular the vendor, the more scrutiny there will be.  
    You can argue the semantic difference between "anti-theft" and "theft recovery" to your heart's content, but regardless I want a way of locating my bike or my car if someone steals it, and the AirTag is a great way to do that as long as the functionality isn't crippled.

    I don't see why you think that an AirTag "is in no way designed to perform that function".  On the contrary, the "Find My" network makes it ideal.  It's a poor man's LoJack, and a great many people are going to use it that way.  Apple (or you) saying that the AirTag is not designed to track stolen items isn't going to change the fact that it most certainly can track stolen items.  If you put an AirTag into your computer bag and I steal it, you'll be able to find me.  A location tracker is a location tracker.  Apple just happens to have built a very good one.

    Incidentally, I suspect that the tracking functionality of the AirTag is going to be incorporated into CarPlay in short order, followed by other high value items (e.g. motorcycles, bicycles, etc.).  At that point, it most certainly will transition to an "anti-theft" device once thieves know that their loot will be broadcasting their location.
  • Reply 28 of 35
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,563member
    WTH said:
    "Do you really think the average Apple user geofences everything he or she owns?" What? You don't "geofence everything", you specify where your Home or Work locations are in your contact card, so you can use location-aware features of Siri, Find My, etc. If you leave an AirTag at work — even if you haven't specified your work location — if it's not moving, it won't make a sound. Per Apple, "When moved, any AirTag separated for a period of time from the person who registered it will make a sound to alert those nearby." If you loan an item to a friend, and that item is going to be moved around, remove the AirTag first. Also from Apple: "If the AirTag is attached to something you’re borrowing and you want to silence these alerts, tap Pause Safety Alerts."

    You're claiming Apple's new product will fail because "they'll constantly annoy their users", entirely based on false assumptions due to not understanding how the product functions. Any other speculation beyond that is pointless for that reason alone.

    The "real problem" you posit is no more applicable to AirTag than any other tracking device. Guess what, you could already track people with little GPS trackers that work even better than AirTags do. My neighbor retrieved their cat's collar that had a GPS device on it in my yard — were they stalking their cat? Perhaps. If your point is that Apple shouldn't enter this product space, nobody cares, and it's too late anyway. If your point is that Apple will make them "too annoying" and thereby useless, I call bullshit and also nobody cares. If you think this will cause a surge in stalking and violent crimes, I call bullshit.
    I concede to most of your points.  I am still waiting for my backordered AirTags to be delivered, so I am not familiar with all the nuances of their behavior.  Thank you for the clarifications.

    As to the point I'm trying to make - I completely agree that many other tracking devices as just as "dangerous" as the AirTag when it comes to potential stalking, which is why I find the "AirTags will enable stalkers" stories so irritating.  As someone who wants to use a few AirTags as anti-theft devices, it is frustrating to see so much focus on Apple while other manufacturers are ignored.  My concern is that Apple is going to wind up neutering a much superior device for the sake of satisfying critics who will never be happy no matter what Apple does.

    Even an 8 hour minimum time limit isn't going to satisfy the anti-AirTag crowd.  So what's next?  4 hours?  2 hours?  1 hour?  It's all a question of how much further Apple is willing to be pushed.

    Regardless, I've decided that the best approach may be a hardware modification, by removing the speaker magnet altogether.  It seems relatively straightforward, and would make the AirTag far more useful for anti-theft.
    Curious.  Why are you trying to turn AirTags in to anti-theft devices when they are obviously not anti-theft devices.  If they were, and they're not, they would rank among the poorest anti-theft devices available.  Anti-theft devices are for preventing theft.  An AirTag could no more prevent theft than a Band-Aid could stop blood from hemorrhaging from a gaping chest wound caused by a pack of wild dingos mauling you.   
    An AirTag wouldn't prevent theft... unless the thief THOUGHT you used them. Maybe one of those useless Apple stickers on your front door or car window with the words "Apple Tag Security" printed on it could help prevent theft. Someone should sell stickers saying, "My property is protected with AirTag trackers." That would be anti-theft. Apple might sue people who make those stickers (for trademark infringement), so perhaps we should just make our own on our own printers.

    But you are right that a band-aid wouldn't stop bleeding from even one of these creatures from mauling you, let alone a pack. Look at that jaw. It's bigger than Jay Leno's.


  • Reply 29 of 35
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,239member
    Welcome to Month 2 of "Apple Gets Crap for ANTI-Stalking Features Built Into AirTag That No Other Tracker (coughTILEcough) Ever Even Thought About and Everyone Was Fine With Not Having Until Apple Recognised an Issue and Tried to Do Something About It."

    PS. Tile has now joined America's largest on-demand surveillance system, Amazon Sidewalk. So it's gone from being a stalker's dream device to being a stalker's wet dream device ... but stay focused on Apple everybody!
    edited June 2021 XedwilliamlondonWTHllamacaladanian
  • Reply 30 of 35
    WTH said:
    Happy_Noodle_Boy said:

    I think you might have meant something other than "Jumping the shark", it doesn't make a whole lot to sense in this context. I don't think Apple is making the change to generate interest in a formally popular product. 


    Yes, a poor choice of words.  More appropriately:  Apple is nerfing the AirTag into uselessness by trying to satisfy a few very vocal critics who can never be satisfied.  A tracking device is a tracking device is a tracking device.  Apple can't make the AirTag useful for finding lost objects while simultaneously making it useless to stalkers.  Nor does it make sense to distinguish between "I want to track a lost object I misplaced" versus "I want to track a lost object that someone took from me".

    I keep seeing the following exchange:

    "I want to use an AirTag to track xxxxx in case it is stolen." 

    "Sorry, the AirTag isn't intended as an anti-theft device."

    That response is irrelevant.  A tracking device is a tracking device is a tracking device.  People are going to use the AirTag for anti-theft applications, regardless of Apple's intent.  Apple cannot separate unintentional loss from intentional loss (theft).  All Apple can do is neuter the AirTag to the point where it becomes completely useless to the vast majority of potential buyers.

    The reduction to an 8-hour limit will do nothing to satisfy the anti-AirTag crowd.  They will continue to demand more and more limitations on the AirTag's functionality, until it devolves into complete uselessness.
    You seem to be the anti-AirTag crowd that you speak of. So we totally agree, you are not going to be satisfied. Maybe find a product that does what you want rather complain about the one that doesn't? 
    edited June 2021
  • Reply 31 of 35
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,563member
    chasm said:
    Welcome to Month 2 of "Apple Gets Crap for ANTI-Stalking Features Built Into AirTag That No Other Tracker (coughTILEcough) Ever Even Thought About and Everyone Was Fine With Not Having Until Apple Recognised an Issue and Tried to Do Something About It."

    PS. Tile has now joined America's largest on-demand surveillance system, Amazon Sidewalk. So it's gone from being a stalker's dream device to being a stalker's wet dream device ... but stay focused on Apple everybody!
    Nice points.
  • Reply 32 of 35
    WTH said:
    CloudTalkin said:

    Curious.  Why are you trying to turn AirTags in to anti-theft devices when they are obviously not anti-theft devices.  If they were, and they're not, they would rank among the poorest anti-theft devices available.  Anti-theft devices are for preventing theft.  An AirTag could no more prevent theft than a Band-Aid could stop blood from hemorrhaging from a gaping chest wound caused by a pack of wild dingos mauling you.   What I think you want is a theft recovery device.  In that capacity the AirTag may be only slightly more useful.  

    I really can't tell what your end game is here.  In a world where myriad dedicated theft prevention devices exist you want to go out of your way to make one out of a device that is in no way designed to perform that function.  It literally makes no sense.  But by all means, you do you.  I'm just not really sure why you want to do you.

    The focus of stalking possibilities is so on Apple because Apple made anti-stalking safety a part of the marketing of the AirTag.  No other vendor did that previously so it was never a focus for anyone.  For any vendor, if they claim their product can prevent, cure, enhance, or otherwise improve what's already available, scrutiny is going to come.  The more popular the vendor, the more scrutiny there will be.  
    You can argue the semantic difference between "anti-theft" and "theft recovery" to your heart's content, but regardless I want a way of locating my bike or my car if someone steals it, and the AirTag is a great way to do that as long as the functionality isn't crippled.

    I don't see why you think that an AirTag "is in no way designed to perform that function".  On the contrary, the "Find My" network makes it ideal.  It's a poor man's LoJack, and a great many people are going to use it that way.  Apple (or you) saying that the AirTag is not designed to track stolen items isn't going to change the fact that it most certainly can track stolen items.  If you put an AirTag into your computer bag and I steal it, you'll be able to find me.  A location tracker is a location tracker.  Apple just happens to have built a very good one.

    Incidentally, I suspect that the tracking functionality of the AirTag is going to be incorporated into CarPlay in short order, followed by other high value items (e.g. motorcycles, bicycles, etc.).  At that point, it most certainly will transition to an "anti-theft" device once thieves know that their loot will be broadcasting their location.
    Using your scenario.  If I put an AirTag in my computer bag and you steal it, the AirTag is going to notify you it's there.  At that point you take my laptop and the 3 kilos uncut Columbian out of my computer bag and transfer it all to an Aldi reusable grocery bag.  Throw my computer bag containing the AirTag on the side of the road.  I get arrested for littering and the subsequent investigation uncovers my drug operation.  I don't want that to happen so I'm just going to put AirTags on key rings.

    The AirTag notifies the thief it there.  That's not an ideal way to track stolen goods.  If you remove the ability of the AirTag to give notification, you turn it into what Apple is trying to prevent: a stalking device.  

    Apple's future application of AirTag tech is a future concern, imo.  Not really germane.  Heck, as evidenced in this thread, people have hard enough time understanding the functionality and capability of the current version.
    muthuk_vanalingamllama
  • Reply 33 of 35
    mike1 said:
    That seems problematic. So, the tag in my suitcase that is stored in a closet could start to play an alert if I am away for as little as 8 hours?! That would be every single work day. My wife will hit me over the head with the suitcase after she tracks down the annoying sound and I get home from work.
    Agreed.

    This whole anti-stalking issue seems to be a bit of a red herring.
    edited June 2021
  • Reply 34 of 35
    WTHWTH Posts: 26member
    chasm said:
    Welcome to Month 2 of "Apple Gets Crap for ANTI-Stalking Features Built Into AirTag That No Other Tracker (coughTILEcough) Ever Even Thought About and Everyone Was Fine With Not Having Until Apple Recognised an Issue and Tried to Do Something About It."

    PS. Tile has now joined America's largest on-demand surveillance system, Amazon Sidewalk. So it's gone from being a stalker's dream device to being a stalker's wet dream device ... but stay focused on Apple everybody!
    Not mention that the Washington Post (owned by Jeff Bezos) is leading the charge against the AirTag.  So of course you'll never see an article condemning Amazon Sidewalk's collaboration with Tile.  That's not "news".
  • Reply 35 of 35
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,271member
    cornchip said:
    This is slightly OT, but - 

    I know it makes for glamorous photography to show the AirTags in these fancy cases hooked on the outside of bags and things, but…. Wouldn’t you want the AirTag to be inconspicuously located? So a would-be thief wouldn’t simply ditch the AirTag and make off with the belonging? Just my perspective on that. 

    But as far as the new security measures; I say it’s progress. Let’s see how Apple’s implementation works. It’s obvious they can make further tweaks as needed. Nice that they’re providing the Android app. Sounds like they’re listening to customers (and journalists), and not sitting around waiting for a disaster. What’s to hate on? 

    Apple clearly markets this as a device for locating LOST items. Locating stolen items may be a side benefit in some cases, but it is not the primary function.

    mike1 said:

    Current AirTag anti-stalking measures cause the accessory to play an alert when separated from their owner within three days. Now, it'll play at a random time window that's between eight and 24 hours, CNET reported Thursday.

    That seems problematic. So, the tag in my suitcase that is stored in a closet could start to play an alert if I am away for as little as 8 hours?! That would be every single work day. My wife will hit me over the head with the suitcase after she tracks down the annoying sound and I get home from work.
    It's not problematic.  You and a lot of others seem to not fully understand how AirTags work.  In the scenario you described, the AirTag would do absolutely nothing.  Nada.  The anti-tracking feature requires 1. AirTag owner to be away from AirTag from 8 to 24hrs AND 2. AirTag MOVEMENT.  IF both those requirements are present, the  AirTag could beep.  If not, the AirTag remains silent... virally infecting all your connected devices, siphoning data from your life so Apple can sell it to the Chinese.  NDA violation!! NDA violation!!   

    Your stationary AirTag in a closet would not be moving.  Even if you tie her up every day and place her in the closet with the luggage (hey, I don't kink shame), they'd both still be stationary in the closet.  So no beep.   Even if proximity was the only trigger, there'd still be no guarantee of beeping since 8 hours isn't a static time limit.  You could be back home 10 hours later and in my made up circumstance where proximity was the only trigger, remove your wife from the closet and return her to the basement lockup (again, no kink shaming from me) with nary a peep from your AirTag.

    Also, AirTags have a feature where you or your family members can deactivate AirTag notifications for a day or permanently.  I probably could have led with that piece of info, but it's not often I get to incorporate S&M habits (alleged) into an Appleinsider post.  

    Thanks for the education and entertainment.
    edited June 2021
Sign In or Register to comment.