Ohio House introduces bill to criminalize AirTag stalking

Posted:
in General Discussion
A bill has been submitted to the Ohio House to try and criminalize using electronic tags for tracking people without permission, the latest legislative attempt to curtail AirTag stalking.




Apple's AirTag has courted controversy by being an accessible way for some would-be stalkers to keep track of potential victims, despite the various anti-stalking measures built into the device. On Friday, Ohio took a step towards making it illegal to perform AirTag-based stalking.

Introduced to the Ohio House, bill HB672 seeks to amend section 2903.211 of the Revised Code to prohibit anyone from "knowingly installing a tracking device or application on another person's property without the other person's consent." The bill is sponsored by Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D) and Rep. Tom Patton (R ).

The litigation was created in part due to a decision by 3News to actively advocate for bipartisan legislation over unwanted monitoring and tracking, with the news organization lobbying legislators over the matter. 3News also reported on loopholes in Ohio law that would've enabled such tracking to take place if there had not been any prior patterns of stalking behavior or domestic violence.

Under such circumstances, it is possible for the perpetrator not to receive any penalty for the act.

"This was an issue that I was not aware about, until you contacted us, and I'm so grateful that you were advocating for one of our constituents as she was very nervous, scared, and confused about the fact that someone could perpetuate such an offensive act against her," said Sykes. "Now we are acting on her behalf, and as well as others who have experienced these types of situations, or who may be subjected to them in the future."

According to the report, at least 19 states have specific laws against electronic tagging. Ohio wasn't among them.

The bill follows interest by other legislative bodies about the potential misuse of AirTag. In January, legislation in Pennsylvania was proposed to specifically make AirTag-based stalking punishable.

In February, New York attorney general Letitia James issued a consumer alert warning about AirTag stalking.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,153member
    to prohibit anyone from "knowingly installing a tracking device or application on another person's property without the other person's consent."
    Seems like they'd want to carve out an exception for law enforcement with appropriate justifications/warrants.

    Installing is a weird word too.  I wouldn't describe slipping an AirTag into a pocket as installing anything.  Probably just legal jabber though.
    lkrupp
  • Reply 2 of 12
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,610member
    Seems a bit gratuitous—“see, I’m doing something, passing laws.” I mean, isn’t stalking stalking. We need separate laws to cover each tool you use to do it?
    dewme
  • Reply 3 of 12
    XedXed Posts: 1,449member
    crowley said:
    to prohibit anyone from "knowingly installing a tracking device or application on another person's property without the other person's consent."
    Seems like they'd want to carve out an exception for law enforcement with appropriate justifications/warrants.

    Installing is a weird word too.  I wouldn't describe slipping an AirTag into a pocket as installing anything.  Probably just legal jabber though.
    The term referenced the placing of a physical device long before software was around.
    MplsPJWSC
  • Reply 4 of 12
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,169member
    Seems a bit gratuitous—“see, I’m doing something, passing laws.” I mean, isn’t stalking stalking. We need separate laws to cover each tool you use to do it?
    Agree.  It’s a pointless law that should already be covered by existing laws against staking.
    dewme
  • Reply 5 of 12
    XedXed Posts: 1,449member
    JWSC said:
    Seems a bit gratuitous—“see, I’m doing something, passing laws.” I mean, isn’t stalking stalking. We need separate laws to cover each tool you use to do it?
    Agree.  It’s a pointless law that should already be covered by existing laws against staking.
    It's either pointless or Ohio laws against stalking are woefully inadequate. Either way it's a head shaker.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,153member
    JWSC said:
    Seems a bit gratuitous—“see, I’m doing something, passing laws.” I mean, isn’t stalking stalking. We need separate laws to cover each tool you use to do it?
    Agree.  It’s a pointless law that should already be covered by existing laws against staking.
    Funny thing about "should" is that it's a very different word from "is".
  • Reply 7 of 12
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,378member
    JWSC said:
    Seems a bit gratuitous—“see, I’m doing something, passing laws.” I mean, isn’t stalking stalking. We need separate laws to cover each tool you use to do it?
    Agree.  It’s a pointless law that should already be covered by existing laws against staking.
    Shoulda woulda coulda. Sometimes there is utility in addressing via the law a specific, novel means of committing a crime in order to head off creative legal defenses to sidestep accountability for misuse of such a device. Depending on how the current anti-staling laws are written (if they exist at all), along with the specifics of a given case, a defense attorney could perhaps even prevent the use of tracking devices from being presented to a jury at all. For instance: 'There's no law governing the use of such devices,  your honor, and without knowing the details or intent of the placement of such a device in the alleged victim's car, such evidence should not be provided to the jury, as it would be prejudicial in its inferences about my client.'

    Add a separate law regarding the misuse of tracking devices, and it becomes a separate charge for a separate but possibly related crime, and possibly even becomes the legal means to hold a stalker to account. For instance: 'Did the defendant place a tracking device in the alleged victim's car? Yes. Is that legal? No." No need to worry about intent for that charge. Establishing that charge, however, could then bolster a broader case of stalking, by showing the defendant has broken the law regarding misuse of tracking devices, contributing to a larger pattern of illegal behavior of the defendant towards the victim.

    So maybe this isn't so pointless, after all.
    JaiOh81
  • Reply 8 of 12
    beowulfschmidtbeowulfschmidt Posts: 1,595member
    crowley said:
    to prohibit anyone from "knowingly installing a tracking device or application on another person's property without the other person's consent."
    Seems like they'd want to carve out an exception for law enforcement with appropriate justifications/warrants.


    A warrant/probable cause is already an exception to virtually every such restriction.
    dewme
  • Reply 9 of 12
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,250member
    No problem. This should take some the heat off of Apple from those who are trying to make Apple liable for the misuse of its product. Making the law encompassing of all similar tracking products further weakens those who are specifically gunning for Apple. 

    The only thing that bothers me is the knee jerk reaction and accelerated response to a problem that is affecting such an infinitesimally small number of  constituents of these public servants. There are far greater problems in Ohio, like the illegality of Ohio’s school funding model that have languished for more than 20 years after being declared illegal by the state Supreme Court without a solution to be found.  Rather than fixing a blood spewing open chest wound  these politicians are stepping up to be seen as heroes to remove a splinter from a toe. 
  • Reply 10 of 12
    maciekskontaktmaciekskontakt Posts: 1,106member
    Yes because it worked so well with illegal firearms and drugs that now even legitimate owners and users have problem with legal use. And that is due to some crazy ideas from clueless people with activism and political motivation that has nothing to do with solving the problem of crime related to those.

    Alcohol prohibition also worked so well...

    You want it secure then try only registered and paired devices to be responded to and for anything else lack of or false signals. Otherwise, criminals do not care what law they break.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    maciekskontaktmaciekskontakt Posts: 1,106member
    crowley said:
    to prohibit anyone from "knowingly installing a tracking device or application on another person's property without the other person's consent."
    Seems like they'd want to carve out an exception for law enforcement with appropriate justifications/warrants.

    Installing is a weird word too.  I wouldn't describe slipping an AirTag into a pocket as installing anything.  Probably just legal jabber though.

    What is wrong with warrant driven exception for LE?

    You know some people thought it is okay for red flag laws that LE officers could kick doors without warrant and search for firearms. Unfortunately, for "innovators" of this idea which they do not know there is so called "castle doctrine" in vast majority even liberal states that authorizes dweller to open fire in cases like this even if on other side are police officers and act as if it was attack by criminals. We had that case even here in New Jersey and judge ruled there was no guilt on any side and nobody get any punishment, but police could be more careful. Hence, no smart LEO tries to kick doors but rather asks for warrant first regardless of red flag laws to prevent situation of potential death on one side or the other with no other consequences. In country that is built on firearm possession from day one of its existence, foreign laws do not apply and it will not change (I had discussion with foreign LEO's and they sound clueless applying their laws in different part of world thinking it is smart or reasonable - it is not).
  • Reply 12 of 12
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,153member
    crowley said:
    to prohibit anyone from "knowingly installing a tracking device or application on another person's property without the other person's consent."
    Seems like they'd want to carve out an exception for law enforcement with appropriate justifications/warrants.

    Installing is a weird word too.  I wouldn't describe slipping an AirTag into a pocket as installing anything.  Probably just legal jabber though.

    What is wrong with warrant driven exception for LE?

    You know some people thought it is okay for red flag laws that LE officers could kick doors without warrant and search for firearms. Unfortunately, for "innovators" of this idea which they do not know there is so called "castle doctrine" in vast majority even liberal states that authorizes dweller to open fire in cases like this even if on other side are police officers and act as if it was attack by criminals. We had that case even here in New Jersey and judge ruled there was no guilt on any side and nobody get any punishment, but police could be more careful. Hence, no smart LEO tries to kick doors but rather asks for warrant first regardless of red flag laws to prevent situation of potential death on one side or the other with no other consequences. In country that is built on firearm possession from day one of its existence, foreign laws do not apply and it will not change (I had discussion with foreign LEO's and they sound clueless applying their laws in different part of world thinking it is smart or reasonable - it is not).
    Huh?
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