NYT: ‘Are Apple AirTags Being Used to Track People and Steal Cars?’

This report for The New York Times from Ryan Mac and Kashmir Hill fails the Betteridge’s Law test. Their best answer is “Well, maybe”:

Mary Ford, a 17-year-old high school student from Cary, N.C., received a notification in late October that she was being tracked by an unknown AirTag after driving to an appointment. She panicked as she searched her car.

Ms. Ford only realized it wasn’t a threat when her mother revealed she had put the tracker in the vehicle about two weeks earlier to follow her daughter’s whereabouts.

“I was nervous about Mary being out and not being able to find her,” said her mother, Wendy Ford. She said she hadn’t intended to keep the knowledge of the AirTag from her daughter, “but if I knew she would have been notified, I probably would have told her.”

This makes no sense. She hid the AirTag in her daughter’s car and didn’t tell her about it, but the Times claims “she hadn’t intended to keep the knowledge of the AirTag from her daughter”? That’s exactly what she did.

Jahna Maramba rented a vehicle from the car-sharing service Turo last month in Los Angeles, then received a notification about an unknown AirTag near her on a Saturday night with her girlfriends.

She took the vehicle to her friend’s parking garage where she searched the outside of the car for an hour before its owner notified her that he had placed the device inside the vehicle. Ms. Maramba had been driving the car for two days.

To me these examples show that Apple’s notification system for unknown AirTags is working, but the report posits the whole platform as problematic.

See also: Apple’s Tracker Detect app for Android, which launched two weeks ago.

Thursday, 30 December 2021