Domestic abuser busted in the act of putting an AirTag on a car

Posted:
in iOS edited February 2
A Connecticut man has been arrested after police witnessed him attempting to use Apple AirTags to track a victim's car.




As Pennsylvania works to become the first state with specific AirTag legislation, police have arrested a Connecticut resident has been charged with felonies including first-degree stalking.

According to CT Insider, 27-year-old Wilfred Gonzalez was charged on January 30, 2022 with stalking, plus violation of a protective order, and misdemeanor breach of the peace.

Local police in the town of Waterbury, say they were dispatched following a "reported domestic dispute." An investigator on the scene "discovered the accused placing a tracking device... in the victim's vehicle."

Even if the perpetrator had not been witnessed, Apple's anti-stalking prevention methods would have alerted the victim. After a period of time, the victim's iPhone would show a notification that an AirTag had been tracking them.

If the victim has an Android instead, then there wouldn't be the same on-screen notification. However, the AirTag itself begins sounding an alarm after it has been separated from its owner for a time.

The victim can then check the AirTag by holding their iPhone or Android phone with the app installed next to it. An on-screen link then takes them to an Apple site which lists the serial number of the AirTag.

When asked by authorities, Apple will report who the registered owner of that AirTag is.

Gonzalez was released on a $10,000 bond, and is next due in court on March 30.

Apple's AirTags have included anti-stalking features from the start. They have even been instrumental in preventing a car theft.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,946member
    Has this been an issue withTile tags? Don’t ever remember reading about it. 
    lorca2770watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    XedXed Posts: 1,449member
    rob53 said:
    Has this been an issue withTile tags? Don’t ever remember reading about it. 
    If it's this much of an issue with AirTags with its anti-stalking features and a more involved account registration (which makes it a foolish purchase for stupid criminals) then I think we can reasonably assume this has been a long-time issue with Tile and other such devices.
    edited February 2 lorca2770JaiOh81beowulfschmidtwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 23
    omasouomasou Posts: 323member
    I've noticed that Apple typically stays out of "accessory" hardware, e.g. HomeKit, not buying NEST, etc. Beats being the exception.

    Perhaps this was a big issue and Apple chose to lead by example as a way to call attention to the problem and how it could be solved with out throwing any particular manufacture under the bus?
    edited February 2 patchythepirateviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    omasou said:
    I've noticed that Apple typically stays out of "accessory" hardware, e.g. HomeKit, not buying NEST, etc. Beats being the exception.

    Perhaps this was a big issue and Apple chose to lead by example as a way to call attention to the problem and how it could be solved with out throwing any particular manufacture under the bus?
    I don’t think any for-profit publicly traded companies make decisions based on the altruistic notions you suggested.  Apple made AirTags because they saw an opportunity to created a product that significantly improved the customer experience in a space where they could make money.  I’m glad they did.  Currently using 3 of the AirTags in a 4-pack we got last year.
    edited February 2 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    It just boggles the mind how Apple is singled out as the problem when tracking-stalking tech has been around for decades. And now comes legislation specifically for AirTags. What’s next? Will AirTags be outlawed eventually?
    edited February 2 viclauyycpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,146member
    If the victim has an Android instead, then there wouldn't be the same on-screen notification. However, the AirTag itself begins sounding an alarm after it has been separated from its owner for a time.

    All well and good except as any AirTag user knows, the alarm isn't very loud. If it's planted on a car or even in one, the odds of a victim hearing it could be slim to none.

    I hope this guy is convinced of at least one felony, and not allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges.

    Originally AirTags would start to beep 3 days after being separated from its paired iPhone. Abused as a tracking device a stalking victim might or might not hear this. If using an iPhone they'd get a Stranger AirTag Danger alert of some kind. 3 days deemed excessive, Apple has shortened that time. What isn't clear to me is if Apple sees my AirTag getting separated from my iPhone as the same or different from my iPhone alerting me that a strange AirTag is following me around. If the former 3-days is fine. In the latter an alert asap would be appreciated.

    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    omasouomasou Posts: 323member
    omasou said:
    I've noticed that Apple typically stays out of "accessory" hardware, e.g. HomeKit, not buying NEST, etc. Beats being the exception.

    Perhaps this was a big issue and Apple chose to lead by example as a way to call attention to the problem and how it could be solved with out throwing any particular manufacture under the bus?
    I don’t think any for-profit publicly traded companies make decisions based on the altruistic notions you suggested.  Apple made AirTags because they saw an opportunity to created a product that significantly improved the customer experience in a space where they could make money.  I’m glad they did.  Currently using 3 of the AirTags in a 4-pack we got last year.
    Steve Jobs maybe not but Tim Cook certainly uses Apple's power and money to help...

    Apple CEO Tim Cook announces support for relief efforts in Midwest and South hit by 30 tornadoes in the U.S.

    Tim Cook reveals how Apple thinks different about charity

    edited February 2 dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,957member
    rob53 said:
    Has this been an issue withTile tags? Don’t ever remember reading about it. 
    Tile tags are somewhat crippled.  In order for it to work it requires its 3rd-party app to be installed on an iPhone, and it needs to be running in order for it to work.  Other iPhones from complete strangers have to have the Tile app installed as well so there goes any usability once it's away from the owner.  AirTags worth with any iPhone as long as bluetooth is on and requires zero configuration on iPhones.  Most users will not even realize that an AirTag is using their Iphone to help a random AirTag ping the mothership.

    That this works on any iPhone with no user intervention is why I bought six AirTags.  It was a godsend while traveling overseas.  One on my pieces of luggage (with an AirTag hidden in it) was loaded on an earlier flight than flight I was on and when I landed and noticed one bag disappeared, I opened my iPhone and tracked my luggage in minutes.  Unbeknownst to me, my luggage was waiting in another area of the baggage area and I would have come close to missing my connection flight if I had to then figure out and start looking for people to talk to about where my luggage was.  That made a believer of me, and my friends traveling with me and seeing how it worked decided to buy AirTags for themselves too.

    It's fantastic, cheap technology and simplified my life.  Sadly, there are those that will use that tech against us.  
    ronnJaiOh81muthuk_vanalingamdewmepscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    People are welcome to dump on this post all they want: my prediction is that this product will be pulled -- or at least massively redone -- before the end of 2022.

    Apple clearly hasn't figured this out yet.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    XedXed Posts: 1,449member
    People are welcome to dump on this post all they want: my prediction is that this product will be pulled -- or at least massively redone -- before the end of 2022.

    Apple clearly hasn't figured this out yet.
    1) Why would it be pulled?

    2) Why aren't others being pulled?

    3) What needs to be "massively redone" this year?

    4) What is your concern about AirTags?

    5) What have they not figured out? If an iPhone was used in a crime does that mean that the iPhone needs to be "pulled" from the market and "massively redone"? I don't think so.
    ronnJaiOh81dewmebeowulfschmidtpscooter63watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 23
    lkrupp said:
    It just boggles the mind how Apple is singled out as the problem when tracking-stalking tech has been around for decades. And now comes legislation specifically for AirTags. What’s next? Will AirTags be outlawed eventually?
    The issue here is the inconsistency with the company's branding.

    That's Apple's differentiator, but also how it gets differentiated.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Xed said:
    People are welcome to dump on this post all they want: my prediction is that this product will be pulled -- or at least massively redone -- before the end of 2022.

    Apple clearly hasn't figured this out yet.
    1) Why would it be pulled?

    2) Why aren't others being pulled?

    3) What needs to be "massively redone" this year?

    4) What is your concern about AirTags?

    5) What have they not figured out? If an iPhone was used in a crime does that mean that the iPhone needs to be "pulled" from the market and "massively redone"? I don't think so.
    See above.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,645member
    lkrupp said:
    It just boggles the mind how Apple is singled out as the problem when tracking-stalking tech has been around for decades. And now comes legislation specifically for AirTags. What’s next? Will AirTags be outlawed eventually?
    It boggles my mind that it boggles your mind. 

    Locating devices like Tile have existed for a while but as others have said they were crippled by a limited install base. 

    When Apple released AirTags they instantly had a network of hundreds of millions of devices, making stalking feasible. Apple is also a household name that has branded itself as a privacy-focused company. Why shouldn’t they get singled out for this?
    muthuk_vanalingamanantksundaram
  • Reply 14 of 23
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,645member
    Xed said:
    People are welcome to dump on this post all they want: my prediction is that this product will be pulled -- or at least massively redone -- before the end of 2022.

    Apple clearly hasn't figured this out yet.
    1) Why would it be pulled?

    2) Why aren't others being pulled?

    3) What needs to be "massively redone" this year?

    4) What is your concern about AirTags?

    5) What have they not figured out? If an iPhone was used in a crime does that mean that the iPhone needs to be "pulled" from the market and "massively redone"? I don't think so.
    If a device can be used for both legitimate and illegitimate purposes. If the illegitimate use of the device becomes significant enough then the harm/drawbacks exceed the benefits. Among those harms are bad PR for Apple. I can’t imagine Apple is eager to be know as the primary purveyor of stalking accessories.  

    I think Apple has done a reasonable job of making mitigating the potential harm done by AirTags. Whether that is enough remains to be seen. 
    muthuk_vanalingamPetrolDaveanantksundaram
  • Reply 15 of 23
    XedXed Posts: 1,449member
    Xed said:
    People are welcome to dump on this post all they want: my prediction is that this product will be pulled -- or at least massively redone -- before the end of 2022.

    Apple clearly hasn't figured this out yet.
    1) Why would it be pulled?

    2) Why aren't others being pulled?

    3) What needs to be "massively redone" this year?

    4) What is your concern about AirTags?

    5) What have they not figured out? If an iPhone was used in a crime does that mean that the iPhone needs to be "pulled" from the market and "massively redone"? I don't think so.
    See above.
    Your reply to lkrupp didn't answer my very pointed questions, but it's clear you don't have answers. It's just easier to grab a torch and pitchfork than to think rationally.
    beowulfschmidtwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 16 of 23
    MplsP said:
    lkrupp said:
    It just boggles the mind how Apple is singled out as the problem when tracking-stalking tech has been around for decades. And now comes legislation specifically for AirTags. What’s next? Will AirTags be outlawed eventually?
    It boggles my mind that it boggles your mind. 

    Locating devices like Tile have existed for a while but as others have said they were crippled by a limited install base. 

    When Apple released AirTags they instantly had a network of hundreds of millions of devices, making stalking feasible. Apple is also a household name that has branded itself as a privacy-focused company. Why shouldn’t they get singled out for this?
    What about all the other gps trackers that have been sold on Amazon for 10+ years? Should they all be pulled and outlawed too? 
    edited February 3 ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    You can buy them online with the alarm disabled now, so if you have an Android phone without the app, you'll never know you are being tracked.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Xed said:
    Xed said:
    People are welcome to dump on this post all they want: my prediction is that this product will be pulled -- or at least massively redone -- before the end of 2022.

    Apple clearly hasn't figured this out yet.
    1) Why would it be pulled?

    2) Why aren't others being pulled?

    3) What needs to be "massively redone" this year?

    4) What is your concern about AirTags?

    5) What have they not figured out? If an iPhone was used in a crime does that mean that the iPhone needs to be "pulled" from the market and "massively redone"? I don't think so.
    See above.
    Your reply to lkrupp didn't answer my very pointed questions, but it's clear you don't have answers. It's just easier to grab a torch and pitchfork than to think rationally.
    Your questions may have been pointed, but they were pointless.

    If you couldn't link my answer to @lkrupp to each of your five questions, I honestly don't know how I could help you!
  • Reply 19 of 23
    JaiOh81 said:
    MplsP said:
    lkrupp said:
    It just boggles the mind how Apple is singled out as the problem when tracking-stalking tech has been around for decades. And now comes legislation specifically for AirTags. What’s next? Will AirTags be outlawed eventually?
    It boggles my mind that it boggles your mind. 

    Locating devices like Tile have existed for a while but as others have said they were crippled by a limited install base. 

    When Apple released AirTags they instantly had a network of hundreds of millions of devices, making stalking feasible. Apple is also a household name that has branded itself as a privacy-focused company. Why shouldn’t they get singled out for this?
    What about all the other gps trackers that have been sold on Amazon for 10+ years? Should they all be pulled and outlawed too? 
    Amazon does not wear "privacy as strategy" on its sleeve.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 23
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,937member
    lkrupp said:
    It just boggles the mind how Apple is singled out as the problem when tracking-stalking tech has been around for decades. And now comes legislation specifically for AirTags. What’s next? Will AirTags be outlawed eventually?
    There are about 200 nations in the world with their own sovereign laws, plus thousands of sub jurisdictions, so it's inevitable that some of these jurisdictions will outlaw tags/tiles. And I have no problem if people want to do that. We can't enforce intelligence on people.
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