Tennessee Man Jailed After Using AirTag to Stalk Ex-Wife

Man holding AirTag Credit: CTV News
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A Tennessee man has been jailed after he allegedly used an Apple AirTag in a frowned-upon manner, which was using it to stalk his wife. Let’s get this straight, while Apple recommends using AirTags to track lost items, it definitely warns users not to use them to stalk anyone.

Fox News affiliate WREG reports that Carlos Atkins has been charged with what is called in legal terms, “electronic tracking of a motor vehicle.” Atkins allegedly hid an AirTag in his ex-wife’s car so he could place roses on the vehicle. When his ex discovered the AirTag in the vehicle, Atkins is said to have confessed that he secreted it in the car.

The woman told police that after she moved in to live with her brother, Atkins came to the brother’s house and place roses on her automobile.

The woman also told police that on Monday, Atkins trailed her home from a Mississippi restaurant to her sister’s Memphis residence. The victim then called Atkins’ daughter, asking her to tell Atkins to cease contacting her again.

Apple commented on the use of the AirTag for stalking.

“AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property,” an Apple spokesperson said, “and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products.”

“Unwanted tracking has long been a societal problem, and we took this concern seriously in the design of AirTag,” continued Apple. “It’s why the Find My network is built with privacy in mind, uses end-to-end encryption, and why we innovated with the first-ever proactive system to alert you of unwanted tracking.”

“We hope this starts an industry trend for others to also provide these sorts of proactive warnings in their products,” said the spokesperson.

While AirTags are incredibly useful when used for their intended use, which is to track automobiles, suitcases and briefcases, keys, and other personal items, some folks have used them for more nefarious purposes.

AirTags have been used multiple times for tracking people without their knowledge. In January, New York Police Department officers discovered an Apple AirTag secreted under their vehicle’s hood.

Luckily, the AirTag’s anti-stalking feature alerted the officers to the tracker’s presence on an officers’ iPhone. The anti-stalking feature notifies nearby iPhones when an AirTag is detected. It is believed that such an alert was how the AirTag used by Carlos Atkins to track his wife was discovered.

A United Kingdom man was recently sentenced to a nine-week prison sentence for using an AirTag to track his ex-girlfriend’s vehicle. Christopher Paul Trotman, 41, had constantly harassed his ex with phone calls and questions before he purchased an AirTag and glued it to her rear bumper to track her movements.

Happily, there have also been good results when AirTags are used in their intended manner.

In January, an AirTag helped find a dog that had been swept away in California floodwaters. Seamus, a one-year-old Australian shepherd, had fallen into a fast-moving storm drain being separated from his owner during a walk. Happily, Seamus was wearing an AirTag on his collar and eventually crawled out of an access tube.

While Apple has warned AirTag users that the trackers are not meant to be used to track pets, children, and other living things that might wander away from time to time, some use them for that very purpose.

An earlier version of this article was published by Mactrast.

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