Apple Watch in Tire allegedly used to track ex-girlfriend

Image for article titled Angry stalker used an Apple watch wrapped around his ex's tire spokes to secretly track her

Photo: Review T3 (Getty Images)

A 19-year-old man from Tennessee was arrested for weekend for allegedly attempting to surreptitiously track his partner using a apple watch stuck behind the wheel of his car.

Police learned of the attempted harassment after a security guard at a local Family Safety Center reported that the man was following the woman around the premises, according to an affidavit. got by WSMV4. The woman would have been there to obtain a protective order, which makes sense given that she claimed the man had already tried to kill her on several occasions. That same man reportedly faced two domestic assault charges last year, WSMV4 notes.

The couple reportedly used an app called Life360 to keep track of each other’s location in the past, although the woman claimed she occasionally turned off the app before visiting the family centre. This reportedly infuriated the stalker, who the woman said sent her aggressive text messages demanding to know her location.

Police reportedly arrived at the scene last week and found the man crouched next to the woman’s passenger side door. According to police, the man had at one point wrapped his Apple Watch around the spokes of the front wheel of the woman’s passenger-side car and then used the watch to track her movements. When the police finally confronted him, he admitted the watch was his. Now he would be charged with attaching an electronic tracking device to the woman’s vehicle.

Apple did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

The case illustrates one of the most nightmarish examples of Cyber ​​harassment

Cyberbullying, which has become more and more disconcerting common along with the rise of new technologies, generally refers to instances where creeps use the Internet, mobile devices, or other electronic means of communication to harass or stalk a victim. Research on the practice varies, however, recent scientific research surveys show somewhere around 35% and 46% of adult respondents claim to have been harassed using technology.

While this is the first instance Gizmodo can confirm of an Apple Watch being used in this way, Apple has found itself the source of harassment issues in recent years, particularly when it comes to its devices. Tile-esque AirTags location tracking. These small, easy-to-attach circular discs have been touted as a handy way to keep track of your dog or house keys using Apple’s Find My network.

That same form factor, however, makes them partially attractive to stalkers looking to drop a tag in an ex-partner’s backpack or car seat and remotely monitor their location.

These concerns are not just hypothetical and hypothetical. There is already various alleged harassment cases involving AirTags reported across the country, as well as several cases of car theft would have use the beacons to track and possibly steal high-end vehicles.

Apple, to its credit, addressed many of these concerns by releasing a number of updates aimed at making its trackers less appealing to stalkers. Last year, Apple introduced a pop-up feature that alerts users if an AirTag separated from its intended owners is nearby. The device will also beep if it’s not near the owner’s phone for somewhere between 8 and 24 hours, ostensibly alerting a potential target. (It should be noted that these tweets are not particularly loud). Android users can also To download Apple’s Tracker Detect app which will allow them to search for nearby Find My Connected unwanted devices.

More recently, Apple has taken its efforts a step further, announcing he would partner with law enforcement and provide details of the paired AirTag account if presented with a subpoena or “valid request”. This is a notable exclusion for a company that previously wanted to stand end to end with the FBI to protect the privacy of its users. The company also recently added a new message during the device setup phase warning users about cyberbullying.

Apple did not respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment on whether or not they would act similarly in potential harassment cases related to watches or iPhones.

To be clear, cyberstalking definitely predates Apple’s AirtTags and is an industry-wide issue far bigger than any company. At the same time, however, Apple’s popularization of these small, relatively affordable (a single AirTag costs $30) and disposable trackers arguably helped usher in a new era of tracking possibilities and use cases. It’s for the same reason that regular users probably shouldn’t worry too much about nervously checking their car’s tires to cling to Apple Watches. Unlike Air-Tags or other comparable tracking devices, a basic Apple Watch can cost somewhere between $200 to $400, making it a less likely vector for potential attacks.

If you’re concerned about possible harassment issues on any of your Apple products, you can check out the company’s recently updated personal safety user guide. halso.