Since it launched in 2021, Apple's AirTag has been popular with consumers. For those who already use an iPhone, an iPad, or a MacBook, the AirTag's appeal is simple: take all the benefits of Apple's Find My technology and apply it to non-smart objects.
The premise was that users could use the tracking technology to locate items that didn't have smart capabilities. Users could pop an AirTag on their keys, or in their wallet, and be able to locate them in the app, just as easily as they could find their phone.
Users even found a use for them as a theft-deterrent. Numerous stories have come out in the last two years, where users have found lost bags, stolen purses, and even cars – all because they had an AirTag attached.
But it's been far from plain sailing. The devices have a dark side, with criminals using them to stalk people and track their movements. It's resulted in Apple being sued (opens in new tab) in the USA.
Now, one of the most popular AirTag alternatives, Tile, has announced a radical approach to deal with users who employ their devices to stalk people – with a $1 million fine! The news comes as the company announce the inclusion of an Anti-theft mode, which deactivates any notification if an unrecognised device is following you.
Put into place to assist those who may be being tracked, Tile claim that the features allow thieves to locate and remove tracking devices with ease, making them all but useless for deterring theft. But, still recognising the importance of deterring stalking with their devices, the company notes that users will have to sign up to stringent terms, with a million dollar fine if the products are used to track a person without their consent.
Just how well such a policy would hold up in court, we don't know, but it's certainly a unique way to deter criminals.