Pennsylvania could become first state to pass law targeting AirTag abuse

One would assume that current law in the United States would make using an AirTag for harassment a punishable offence. As true as that may be, a legislator thinks more can be done in their state.

This week, Pennsylvania State Representative John Galloway proposed legislation specifically banning the use of an AirTag for anything other than tracking personal items. Quoting a recent New York Times article on AirTag abuse, Galloway says the Pennsylvania Penal Code needs to be updated to prohibit remote harassment:

“Since the introduction of Apple AirTags in April 2021, I have seen numerous articles about predators placing AirTags on victims’ vehicles, purses and even coat pockets to track their location,” Galloway said. , D-Bucks. “The AirTag’s precision finder should only be used to locate the owner’s possessions, such as keys, wallet or school bag, as was the original intent of the product. My legislation would protect the Pennsylvanians by ensuring this wrongful act is addressed by updating our Crimes Code to prohibit anyone from tracking their location or assets without their consent.

The Pennsylvania Congress is now sharing the proposed legislation and seeking co-sponsors. If state lawmakers vote to pass the new law, Pennsylvania would become the first state to target AirTag abuse through lawmakers.

As always, it’s important to understand how Apple AirTags are designed to prevent abuse like harassment.

iPhone users get an alert when an AirTag tracks them without its owner, and Android apps, including one from Apple, offer similar functionality. Apple also released a “User’s Guide to Personal Safety” earlier this week detailing what to do when personal safety is compromised by Apple products, including AirTags.

The 9to5Mac take

It’s hard to imagine that legislation prohibiting AirTag abuse won’t become law in Pennsylvania. Which legislator would be against the repression of harassment via AirTags?

Citing recent media coverage to explain why a new law is needed in the first place, however, it suggests the proposal is more about the appearance of doing something about a problem. If existing state law does not already prohibit harassment, an updated policy is certainly in order.

I guess it’s mostly about using Apple for an easy political victory. Apple can only combat the fear of AirTags by continuing to educate the public about how they work and what is already being done to mitigate abuse.

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