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India says AirTag 'digital terror' is first stalking case in country


In a sketchy report, an Indian publication is claiming that after abuse in the US and other countries, the first-ever case of stalking with AirTags in India has been found.

Apple's AirTags were introduced in 2021 and alongside countless accounts of them helping beat failures with airlines' lost luggage procedures, they have also enabled stalking. Apple has easily the best thought-through anti-stalking measures, and has had them from the start where major rival Tile took almost a decade — and the heat focused on Apple — to introduce any at all.

Whatever protection Apple has included, and whatever spotlight it has put on the whole topic, stalkers have been using them — but, allegedly, not in India.

According to India Today, the first case of stalking using Apple AirTag has been reported in India. The case was filed by what's called the Ahmedabad cyber cell, and it alleges that an individual used an AirTag for "tracking and harassing purposes" against an ex-partner.

This marks "the first case of such digital terror in the country," says the publication.

Reportedly, the woman being tracked did discover the AirTag because of Apple's anti-stalking measures. Repeated alerts on her iPhone, and also on her daughter's iPhone, notified her that an AirTag was "found moving with you."

India Today claims that the woman's ex-partner not only used the AirTags to monitor her movements, but also to "even gain access to her phone call records." Since that's impossible, it's likely that the publication is conflating separate details of the stalking.

The woman being stalked first got a notification on her iPhone 13 Pro Max in May. Despite repeated warnings, it wasn't until July that she informed the authorities in the form of this Ahmedabad cyber cell.

She appears to have separately also visited a car service station and, with the help of staff there, located the AirTag. It had been glued under the seat cover behind the driver's seat.

Neither the woman nor her ex-partner have been named. India Today says that the police " have registered a First Information Report (FIR) under section 354 D of the Indian Penal Code and section 66E of the Information and Technology Act, which deals with the violation of bodily privacy."

The claim that this is the first-ever case of stalking by AirTags in India, or rather the first recorded case, seems unlikely but must be possible. India has a population of around 1.4 billion and while Apple does not report figures, in December 2022 it was estimated that it had sold 55 million AirTags — worldwide.

So even the worldwide sales figures for AirTags are small compared to the population of India.

It's not clear what can happen next in this particular case, but previous anti-stalking AirTag issues in America have led to at least one lawsuit against Apple.