One of the most important questions about the new AirTag it is how its development has been. From Apple they affirm that privacy has been taken into account from the beginning of the product. But anti-harassment measures have also been considered, even for Android users. Two essential elements given the size and capabilities of this tiny beacon.
With privacy as a flag from the beginning
When we started designing our own product, we thought carefully about how to get it right in a way that no one in the industry would have done before. You will see that we have designed [el AirTag] to take into account the privacy of AirTag owners and other users, as well as to make these benefits available to third parties.
Kaiann Drance is Vice President of Worldwide iPhone Marketing, who along with Ron Huang have sat down with FastCompany for an interview. In it, they have talked about the AirTag, their privacy and how they protect other users with this tiny device. So from Cupertino they have everyone in mind when using it, both the AirTag and the Search network.
The great potential of the AirTag does not depend on a data connection. But it can take advantage of any Apple product around it to connect to the network and warn its owner where it is. This repetition occurs anonymously for all parties involved: not even the repeater device knows that there is a beacon Apple’s nearby nor the owner knows who is helping him locate it.
It is also produced safely, with the bluetooth identifiers issued by the AirTag rotating several times a day. In this way, no one can be identified through this data. Nor does it reconstruct its trajectory. As an addition, the AirTag is associated with the owner’s Apple ID when it is set up for the first time (we can have a maximum of 16 AirTags). This prevents someone from finding it, reconfiguring it, and keeping it for their own use.
Anti-harassment measures to avoid unwanted tracking
One might think that it would be very easy to leave someone in their backpack or coat an AirTag to keep track of them. After all, we are in front of a small device that allows us to be located, as long as we are within range of Apple’s network. But they have also thought about Apple in that, because there are anti-harassment measures to avoid this type of non-consensual tracking.
Apple claims that the AirTag is designed to locate objects and not pets or children (that’s what the Apple Watch and its new mode have for)
The iPhone of the user in question would alert him with a notification that there is an AirTag moving with him. As long as it is found away from the Apple ID it’s associated with or does not belong to a user who is in the immediate vicinity. So if you go on the bus with a user who carries an AirTag, you will not receive any kind of alert because he understands that he is with his owner.
For those users who use Android or do not have any type of smartphone, Apple has created another additional measure. If an AirTag is far from its owner for a certain time, it will begin to emit a sound notifying you of your presence. If you have an Android, you can scan it to find its owner through its NFC. Although you can always disassemble it by removing the cover and the battery inside.
Someone using the AirTag with these intentions would soon be in trouble. You can take the device to the police and that, through its serial number, they obtain from Apple the name, email and other personal information of the owner who activated the AirTag.